Iron Age Ads: New Idea Corn Picker

No. 301 2-row tractor mounted corn picker represented a great leap in efficiency over hand picking.

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Image courtesy of Dale Jenson.

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The New Idea 2-row tractor mounted corn picker, a particular favorite with many farmers, was an established institution for decades. Efficient and well-made, the picker represented a quantum leap forward from the days of hand picking corn.

That said, the mounted corn picker did not do the work by itself. It could take a full day (or more) to mount the unit on a tractor, which was then out of commission for any other task. In the off-season, the picker needed to be stored inside. Once off the tractor, it rested on a stand and was about as portable as Mt. Rushmore. During harvest, the picker's grease zerks, chains and sprockets required constant care and attention. In use, the machine struggled in less-than-ideal field conditions. Mud was particularly treacherous for low-clearance units.

Still, the mounted picker was a vast improvement over hand picking. Decades in development (early experimental models came out in the early 1900s; 30 years later, most ear corn was picked mechanically), the mounted corn picker continued in use on many small farms for decades after the arrival of the modern corn combine.

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