Wistful Wednesday: Grain Binders

This is an old photo of Far Guy’s Grandfather Abbott in the grain field. This photo was marked with only one name, I will assume that he is the fellow in the white shirt and suspenders..the silhouette looks right for his build. An old tractor is pulling two grain binders through a grain field.

 An old grain binder at a neighbors. *** Correction from Dumbo! The photo of the old rusty equipment beside the building is a swather. That is like a binder, except that instead of elevating the grain to a binding mechanism, it just moved it to one end of the machine and laid it on the ground. This windrow would later be picked up by a combine and threshed and the straw left in the field.

Grandpa Abbott is steering a ground/wheel driven grain binder, it had no engine. From what I recall of this contraption, it cut and bound the grain into bundles. My Mother sometimes had to repair the canvas, I remember playing on it when I was little. The canvas had wooden slats, the long section of canvas ran the full length of the machine, when the cutter cut the grain, it fell onto the canvas, and then traveled along the canvas to be bundled and tied. Each bundle or sheaf was plopped down onto the ground to be to be stacked together. A sheaf of grain is one that can be easily carried under one arm. Several bundles or sheaves would make a shock of grain. Combines made this piece of farm equipment obsolete:)

Shocks of grain in a field near Frazee, Minnesota August 2009

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4 Responses to Wistful Wednesday: Grain Binders

  1. buffalo gal says:

    It is nostalgic to see sucha picture of a harvest operation that used to be the “norm” in late July and August. I remember watching the horse-drawn wagons filled with the grain bundles that had been picked up as “shocks” that were being hauled to the monster threshing machine (my perception as a pre-schooler) at our friend, Jack’s farm where my Mom helped Jack’s wife (her first cousin) every harvest season with all the cooking and baking. We still see shocks at Rollag and obviously at Frazee as well as folks continue to “thresh” grain the old way. I am so glad that the old ways are remembered! Wonderful photo!

  2. Avatar of abra la mente says:

    Being two generations removed from family farming, it always amazes me the way farm equipment has changed over the years. When I see your farm photos here, and on your Forgotten Old Photos blog, I always revisit thoughts of how difficult our ancestors had life, and how darn easy ours is, even on the worst of days. Perhaps that is why I enjoy digging into family history–it keeps me grounded!

  3. Ann says:

    I remember picking up the shocks of grain. It’s dirty, hot work. And here I was whining because I had to pick my beans and cucumbers yesterday in the heat. Oh to be young again.

  4. dumbo says:

    The photo of the old rusty equipment beside the building is a swather. That is like a binder, except that instead of elevating the grain to a binding mechanism, it just moved it to one end of the machine and laid it on the ground. This windrow would later be picked up by a combine and threshed and the straw left in the field.

    I have not so fond memories of both the binder and swather (windrower). The binder originally came with a ground wheel drive, but some later models were either equipped with or convert to a PTO (power take off) drive. The windrowers usually came with a PTO drive, although I suppose that there are some someplace that came with a ground wheel drive or even an engine drive.