Kansas City Hay Press

An abandoned Kansas City Hay Press prepares for restoration

Bill Hatcher's hay press, as found near Raton, N.M.

Bill Hatcher's hay press, as found near Raton, N.M.

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This month's photographs come from Bill Hatcher, Springer, N.M. He recently acquired a Kansas City Hay Press Company hay press with a 6 hp KC-built engine (shop number #744). 

This rig, abandoned years ago, was originally owned by Joe Floyd, Johnson Mesa, about 20 miles from Raton, N.M. Joe and several brothers homesteaded there, and they shared the hay press in their farming operations.

The hay press looks to be complete and in fairly good condition, but the engine is stuck. Bill plans to restore the rig, which has been shown in Springer at the Colfax County parade. Bill said a lot of people there had no idea what it was, but were very interested in it.

As part of his restoration plans, Bill is looking for any information about this hay press or the manufacturer. He would also like to know what the blocks for the hay press look like, and could use a sketch in making a new set. He hopes to get his hay press restored and bale hay with it at demonstrations. Bill is a rancher, and hay is a major part of that operation now, as it was 100 years ago.

The KC Hay Press Company built some very interesting engines and equipment since its founding in the 1890s. Although the company's early hay presses were horse-powered, some were belt-powered by steam engines.

In about 1901, the company expanded its line with the introduction of the Lightning gasoline engines. Those were offered on hay presses, as well as stationary, portable and traction engines.

The next style of engines used on the hay press were KC Juniors, built in 6, 8 and 12 hp models. The later engines, like that on Bill's hay press, were built by the KC Hay Press Co., and used a headless design. Those were available in 6, 8 and 10 hp models.

My copy of Millard's Implement Directories, Kansas City, Mo., 1914-16, shows this later style of engine still in use. The KC Hay Press Company later equipped their hay presses with Stover engines, and continued manufacturing hay presses into the late 1940s.

Bill's daughter found out about Farm Collector on the Internet, and e-mailed us a letter to the editor. FC 

Bill Hatcher can be reached at Rt. 1, Box 44, Springer, N.M., 87747; (505) 483-5066. 

A collector for 25 years, Wayne Walker Jr. is the marketing director and a columnist for Farm Collector.