Given this is the harvest season with Champaign County farmers harvesting this year’s crops, the Champaign County Historical Museum compares past and present harvesters used in the county.
Then – This is a circa 1930 photo (#2501) of a threshing machine manufactured by Case in use on the Kiser/Furrow farm located just north of St. Paris. It is a stationary belt-driven (probably steam engine powered) harvester that is being used to harvest wheat. The previously cut and collected sheaves of wheat are fed into the thresher as shown at the top left of the photo. The separated grain is collected and loaded into a wagon using the auger seen along the side of the machine. The wheat straw was blown into a pile near the rear of the separator. These harvesters were also referred to as separators as their task was to separate the grain from the plant.
Usually a separator was owned by one area farmer who would harvest wheat on several farms in a circuit. Harvesting a given farm’s crop could take just one day as the other farmers on the circuit would help. This meant that the host farm family would provide the noon meal for all the helpers and what a meal it would be!
Now – This is a photo of a Case combine harvester harvesting soybeans on a Champaign County Mad River Township farm this season. These harvesters are referred to as combines as they combine the tasks of cutting and collecting the plant with separating the grain. They are self-propelled and move across the field as the front reel and cutter bar cut, collect and feed the plants into the combine where the grain is separated. The separated grain is collected in a bin from which it is augured into a wagon as shown. The chaff (plant debris) is distributed back onto the field from the rear of the combine as it moves along.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.