Willard Ottman, Lemmon, S.D., has strong ties to this 1928 IHC reaper. His grandfather bought it new to harvest alfalfa seed. "If you put alfalfa through a binder," he explains, "it’d knock the seed loose. But the reaper was real gentle on it." Pulled by two horses, the reaper cut the grain and placed it on the ground in a sheaf (or gavel) that was tied by hand (often by the youngest member of the farm family) using a piece of straw. "It’s a lost art," Willard says.
Photo by Leslie C. McManus