It's All Trew

Before Baling Wire and Duct Tape

| October 2005

Binder twine endures as all-purpose farm and ranch problem-solver

Most old timers have forgotten a simple product used almost daily in the distant past. We called it "binder twine," as it was basically used in a McCormick-Deering broadcast binder to tie together bundles of feed stalks. It was cheap and durable and served in many ways.

There is no prettier sight in the fall than a field of shocked feed with its little "tepees" of feed bundles awaiting the long winter ahead. Those little twines holding the bundles together made handling stock feed a breeze with only a pitchfork in hand.

The Deering-Appleby twine binder, introduced in 1879, sold like wildfire and worked like a charm. As demand for binder twine increased, Deering spent thousands of dollars experimenting with different fibers to provide strength and quality of product at the most economical price.

The best twine product seemed to be a blend of sisal from Yucatan and manila from the Philippines. To meet the demand, Deering established three twine factories in the U.S., and more overseas, importing huge, 400-pound bales of both fibers.

Fibers were softened, blended, oiled and treated against insects. Huge breaking and combing machines straightened fiber for spinning into large, fluffy rope forms. Final spinning kept stretching and reducing the size before the fiber was wound on large bobbins. From there, the finished product was rewound into balls designed to fit twine holders on farm machinery.

From 1897 to 1937, when six brands were available, binder twine changed little. The original twine balls weighed about 8 pounds each, with approximately 75 strands of fiber twisted 14 times per lineal foot to achieve strength and uniform size. When the new power-driven hay balers arrived, binder twine changed a bit, evolving into "baler twine" with more strength and size.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265