In the photograph on page 36 of the December 2005 issue of Farm Collector, the piece held by Beverly Egber is part of the oil recovery and metering tank on a Brown-Duvel Moisture Tester. This tester was (and still may be) the standard to which all other testers were compared.
In principle, an accurately weighed sample of grain was boiled in oil and the resulting steam was condensed, dripped into a vertical glass tube with an etched scale, which read the moisture content in percentage.
These testers were common in elevators, enforcement agencies, seed houses, exporters, etc. The reason they were replaced, I suspect, was because the process took about half an hour. I have a very nearly complete tester with glassware (which we used in the 1940s). We produced hybrid seed corn for 16 years, just as described in the article on page 34 of the December issue.
I started with one acre as an FFA project in 1938, when I was 14, and the enterprise grew from there.
– George Fogle
2611 Okemos Road
Mason, MI 48854