Collection Storage Facility
Donation in 1974
The Waterloo “Champion” Separator, a wood-framed thresher, was first manufactured by Bricker & Company in 1880. The thresher featured grain-separating technology patented in the 1870s by John Beam. In 1888, E. W. B. Snider bought Bricker and incorporated it into the Waterloo Manufacturing Company. In 1908, Waterloo established a manufacturing plant in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and continued to produce threshers into the 1940s.
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.
The Waterloo “Champion” was a distinctive thresher with its high rear end and double gear wheels. This thresher is hand-decorated with painted scroll-work and pin-striping, a characteristic of agricultural implements made in the nineteenth century.