The short-lived sustainable harvest: Straw-burning portable steam engines utilized the byproduct of threshing machines
A California threshing scene with a Heald steam engine, probably taken in the early 1880s.
The 1880 J.L. Heald 20 hp portable straw-burning steam threshing engine.
Agricultural historian F. Hal Higgins took this photo of pioneer equipment operator B.B. Brown (left) and Pierce Miller inspecting the J.L. Heald straw-burning engine at Pierce’s California Ranch Museum, Modesto, Calif., in 1958.
This drawing by F.J. Howell, titled “The Steam Thresher of Benjamin Ely,” depicts harvest activities on Aug. 5-6, 1884, at the 1,600-acre ranch owned by Benjamin Ely, Winters, Calif. Equipment shown in the drawing includes a 20 hp 1883 J.L. Heald engine, an 1881 Jackson derrick and feeder, and an 1881 Bronson-Pitts separator. Note that all crew members are identified.