Vintage hay presses, including a rare Kansas City Lightning, get back to work with help from Minnesota collector
The bale chamber on the Kansas City Lightning combined hay press measures 14 inches wide and 18 inches high. Note the bale wires extending out of a tube on the machine’s side. Designed for use on a modern cardboard box baler, the wires were modified for use on the vintage machine.
During baling, a man worked from this platform, pitching hay or straw into the press. A crew of five operated the machine.
Grooves cut into wood inserts guide wire around each bale as it is formed.
Dwight with his first hay press, a 1920 International Harvester Co. model.
Photo courtesy Dwight Yaeger
The 1920 Kansas City Lightning combined hay press was gear-driven, unlike most hay presses of the era, which were belt-driven.
A 1924 ad for Kansas City Hay Press Co.
Image courtesy Dwight Yaeger
Bales slide down this chute (when in position) to the ground, if they are not picked up first.
This 1916 ad shows the evolving Kansas City press.