Collection Storage Facility
On loan from the Carleton-West Russell Historical Society
The history of this object is unknown. A paper tag on the artifact reads 1857, but design and construction details, including its cast iron concave, cylinder, and pulleys suggest that it was constructed in the 1870s.
Threshing machines separate grain from the harvested plant, which is reduced to straw and chaff. The first threshing machines were stationary: powered by hand or treadmill, they increased the amount of grain a farmer could separate in a day. Wheeled threshing machines began to replace stationary threshers in the 1860s and further mechanized grain harvesting. Threshers were initially built of wood and powered by horse-powered windlasses; they were later built of steel and powered by steam traction engines and gas tractors. Threshers were in turn replaced through the twentieth century by combine harvesters, which merged harvesting and threshing operations in one machine.
This stationary thresher was hand-fed and belt-driven, likely from horse treadmill, and was small enough to be hauled by wagon. Its sifting and shaking mechanism would have been driven by a secondary belt connected to a pulley on the shaft, which drove an eccentric to create a shaking action that helped separate the grain from the straw. Operators had to manually remove the straw, as the thresher lacked a fanning mill and conveyor.
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