1957 Ford Picker/Sheller Restored

Ford 1-row mounted corn picker/sheller pairs up with Ford 861 LP.


| August 2013



Ford Before

The 1958 Ford 861 LP before restoration.

Photo By Jan Garber

In 1973 I noticed a sale bill listing a Ford 1-row mounted picker/sheller. My granddad had farmed with Ford tractors, Dearborn row-crop implements and a Ford hay baler, but he used an International Harvester 2-row corn picker. Never having heard of such a machine, my curiosity was high, so I went to the auction preview. Yes indeed, I had to have this machine, as I had been picking corn with a 1-row New Idea and having shelled corn would save storage space.

I went to the auction and made the purchase for $35. With the help of an owner’s manual, I made necessary preparations to a Ford 4000 tractor for mounting and away I went on a 54-mile round trip. I could not believe how easy it was to mount this unit, although I did put the grain bin on the trailer. I got the picker/sheller home and greased it up and it ran with no problems. Then and only then did I discover the serial number: 1008. I knew then it was the eighth one made.

That fall I harvested my field corn and was totally surprised; rarely did I find any shelled corn on the ground. Then I put the unit to the true test and harvested popcorn. I was just as pleased. I sold the New Idea, as Ford had a better idea. Mounting the picker/sheller is a piece of cake compared to the cursed job of mounting Dad’s International 2-row picker on his Farmall M.

After the wheels are set out and the angle mounting hangers are installed with the fender bolts, it takes about 15 minutes to mount the three-point sheller; it takes about 30 minutes to mount the grain sheller with a mounting bracket. If the grain sheller is hanging (which is easiest), then you can drive under it and lower it into position.

Letting it go

In 1979 I sold all my farm equipment, including, reluctantly, the picker/sheller. The buyer only wanted the rubber snapping-roller to put on his picker. For years I tried to buy it back but he had to have it in his pasture, for a cattle rub I think. Eventually he died and I bought the piece back at his estate auction for $35 (without the owner’s manual). Thirty years in the pasture had aged the unit but I was bound and determined to restore this classic machine. This time I only had a 5-mile round trip to retrieve it.

I did a complete assessment. Virtually all of the bearings were frozen up, so I shot them with J-B Weld and kerosene and finally got it to turn over. I knew the bottom auger pan was in need of replacement as well as the lower auger flighting. The grain pan and blower deflector were in bad shape so I had a new auger pan, grain pan and blower deflector made using old patterns. Oh yes, I found some of my popcorn cobs inside. The previous owner had never removed the rubber snapping-roller and it was still in perfect shape.