The Right Tool for the Job: Husking Corn by Hand

Small hand-held tools helped farmers husk corn by hand for decades.

As the husks are held by the left hand, the right hand sharply snaps the ear from the stalk and simultaneously sends it on the way to the wagon with a vigorous flip of the wrist. The left hand immediately goes to the next ear to be properly grabbed and ready for the hook. The husker is always looking ahead to the next cornstalk (or two) to find the position of the ears on those stalks, which will determine how the left hand will grab them. If you watch a proficient corn husker, you will observe that the right elbow never leaves the side of the husker’s body.
Photo by Don McKinley