Anamoose, North Dakota
In a number of Iron Men Album magazines there have been pictures
of harvesting grain with a header, like the one of
September-October, 1961 issue, on page 14. The story with this
picture said that it was not easy to handle that little guide wheel
in the back. At one time I did run a header quite a bit and found
that guiding ease depended a lot on how well the operator handled
the horses. That eave it the balance it needed.
By the late 1930’s and early 40’s some grain farmers
made heading grain a mechanized setup, which was called the header
barge. This would make a complete stack at one time and it
eliminated a lot of pitching, thus needing only three men to do the
job. To this was coupled the header with braces and cables and
became a one unit outfit with the fellow on the header not needing
to guide the header, but to regulate the cutting height only.
This barge, built about like the many that were used, was about
10 feet wide in front and 12 feet wide in back, so that once the
stack would start sliding out the sides then became free of
friction and moved right on out. Also the bottom edge of the sides
were tapered inward at an angle to expose less stack on the ground
and to settle down better to shed rain by having a rounded top on
To unload the barge, the long elevator was pulled away from the
barge by block and tackle. Then the gates were opened in the back
and up front inside was a false end gate hooked to two cables
running along side the stack out past the back and about 25 or 30
feet, fastened to a stationary object like a truck or stake in the
ground that served as a dead man.
Then a good pull with the tractor the front end of the barge
would tilt up on its axle and the stack would slide to the ground
as the tractor kept pulling the barge out from under the stack.
This operation was very simple to handle in the field or unloading,
of course, the fellow in the barge did the only hard work there
was. When the barge became quite full the tractor had quite a load
up hill. One neighbor overcame this by having 2 horses hitched to
the header and idle along with the outfit, when he came to a hill
he made them tighten the tugs and help along. Another neighbor
mounted a combine pick-up to the header platform and picked up
windrowed hay and stacked it that way.
I guess farmers always are inventive minded and looking for
better ways of doing things.