Steam Engine Powered Wheat Threshing



On August 11, 2011, I posted about pre-1940 steam engine powered oat threshing. On August 12, Bill, Jackson (Bill’s and my grandson, pictured above) and I attended the Albert City, Iowa, Threshermen and Collectors Show. Threshing of wheat — not oats — was demonstrated there. All three of us enjoyed the demonstrations involving machinery and horses, talking with those demonstrating, the parade of implements, and the ice cream.

The 5-minute video below is from one of the August 12 demonstrations. It is of shocked wheat and a threshing machine powered by a steam engine, similar to my Great-Uncle Art’s oat threshing rig.

In a subsequent post, I’ll include a short video of horsepower driven (as opposed to steam engine driven) threshing.



(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


3 Responses to “Steam Engine Powered Wheat Threshing”

  1. Peg Moore Says:

    I hope it’s not improper blog protocol to add this long quotation from Wikipedia:

    “Threshing is just one process in getting cereals to the grinding mill and customer. The wheat needs to be grown, cut, stooked (shocked, bundled), hauled, threshed, and then the grain hauled to an elevator and the chaff baled. For many years each of these steps was an individual process, requiring teams of workers and many machines. In the steep hill wheat country of Palouse in the Northwest of the United States, steep ground meant moving machinery around was problematic and prone to rolling. To reduce the amount of work on the sidehills, the idea arose of combining the wheat binder and thresher into one machine—a combined harvester. About 1910, horse pulled combines appeared and became a success. Later, gas and diesel engines appeared with other refinements and specifications.”

    With our present-day machinery (or even with the machinery of the era in which I grew up), all of the above (in this quotation and in your blog and *WONDERFUL* video footage) seems mind boggling! On the other hand:

    “For thousands of years, grain was separated by hand with flails, and was very laborious and time consuming. Mechanization of this process took much of the drudgery out of farm labour” (also from Wiki).


    Love the pic of Jackson, too! Grandpa Deane would love that Jackson is getting this exposure. In fact, it’s exactly the type of “field trip” on which he would have loved taking Jackson. ❤ (I'm thinking of his making sure we saw the baby foxes in their den. And so much more, ❤ )

    Kudos, Louise!

    The link to the Wiki page:

  2. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    I LOVE what you wrote, Peggy. For more of an understanding about threshing and especially what you wrote about how it would have been the type of “field trip” with Jackson that Grandpa Deane would have loved. That line of thought had entered my mind, too, but I love that you thought the same thing. As in, fun that I wasn’t the only one who thought it.

    During the same trip to Iowa, Bill and I made sure that Jackson went out into the bean field to inspect the crop. We also went into Daddy’s shop. In my mind, all three experiences (threshing, field inspection and shop) had “Daddy” written all over them.

  3. Nancy Says:

    I too think it’s really great that Jackson goes on “field trips” which involved learning about farming and his family’s heritage connected to farming, Louise.

    We go to church in Albert City, where the men who started the Thresherman’s Show also attend. It started out as a few dads wanting their kids to know about “the olden days” and how farming used to be done. The event has obviously grown, with thousands attending now. These guys, their sons, and their grandkids, wives and daughters all help make it the bigt event it is….as well as so many others.

    Gus and Kara were there this year, helping the youth group in one of the concession stands. We haven’t gone for many years, but need to get Phil back over to it next year.

    Gus remembers playing in an old threshing machine in the grove as a kid. He says you could climb up into the machine and play inside. Yikes! Wonder if his mom knew? There was still a threshing machine in a shed when we came to the farm. Phil gave it to someone, possibly the Weigert Farm for their show.

    Nancy in NW Iowa

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