Farm Machinery: Then and Now

| 9/30/2013 4:20:00 PM

DJIt is harvest season around here and has been for about a month or so. And every time I see one of the newer harvesters, or other huge pieces of farming equipment, I think about the ones my grandpa Henry Parker used in the early 1900’s. It is hard work now, but it was really work back then. In fact, story has it that is how Grandma Parker eventually ended up losing the farm out by Culdesac, Idaho. Grandpa Parker is the fifth person from the left in the photo below, and my father is the last person on the right side of the picture, who is holding onto Grandma Parker's hand.

Farm Family in 1910

Family Photo Around 1910

I decided to go through the old pictures my brother had given me and was amazed – again – by how hard it must have been for them to accomplish what they did on the farms and still sell it for what they sold it for. I, like most other people, am unhappy about the prices of the staple items in the grocery stores now, but I remember my mom telling me about buying fifty pounds of flour for less than ten dollars. According to her they didn’t package in little five pound bags. If you wanted less than twenty or fifty pound bags, you had it weighed out for you. (Yes, just like in the western movies and TV shows.) She remembered when they didn’t have regular grocery stores in the smaller towns. They were still called mercantiles. And they carried everything. Kind of like a grocery store, hardware store, fabric store and five-and-dime all rolled into one. I can only imagine the wonders kids found to marvel at then!

Old Combine

Combine on the Old Parker Ranch

10/2/2013 8:55:49 PM

D.J., I've shared before on these blogs about as a youth of about 12, I actually participated in the last thrashing crew on my uncle's farm. We used what we called a binder first. It cut the grain and stacked it in shocks. When the grain had dried, the shocks were picked up by men walking along the ground beside a special wagon made to hold the grain shocks. The walking men would use a pitch fork to throw the shocks on the wagon which were stacked by a person on the wagon. When the wagon was filled it was brought before the beastly, loud, dusty, trashing machine. A big wide belt was wrapped around a drive pulley and connected to the power pulley on a tractor. You were right the crew I worked with was about 10 or 12 men from the surrounding farms. It was a great experience for sure. One that I'll always remember. Have a great family photo album day.

Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me