Combined Reaper and Thresher in the Field, Washington

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
In northern California and in the western parts of Oregon and Washington are the great wheat fields in which this type of machine is used. It is a combined reaper and thresher. As the machine moves across the field, it cuts the heads off the straw, moves the wheat from the heads and sacks the grain. There are at least two conditions necessary before such a large machine can be used with profit. In the first place, the fields must be very large so that frequent turning is unnecessary. In the second place, the climate must be such that the grain will dry out in the hulls. You recall that in most wheat farming, the bundles are set in shocks and allowed to "cure" several days or weeks so that grains will become dry enough to be removed from the close-fitting hulls. In our Pacific states the climate during the harvesting season is so dry that the wheat cures before cutting. The operation of this machine is simple. The heads are cut off by the sickle. They fall on a revolving canvas which drops them into the cylinder of the thresher. The teeth of the cylinder beat the hulls from the grain. Sieves and fans separate the grains from the chaff and straw, and the straw falls out at the rear of the machine. You see great bunches of it lying on the wheat that has been topped. The grain is sacked, and the sacks are removed from the carrying platform and loaded into wagons as the machine moves along. Twenty horses pull the outfit. Hand sickles, scythes, cradles, and even knives have been used in cutting grain. Formerly straw was bound into bundles by hand. It was threshed with flails, or tramped out by oxen and horses on smooth ground. The history of wheat harvesting is the story of the growth of mankind. Keystone ID: 11623 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.