| September/October 1964

  • Hovland thresher

  • Hovland thresher

General Manager PION-ERA, Inc., Box 1303, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Like the press and radio people who are always after the unusual story the Western Development Museum is also interested in the unusual exhibit. In the Hovland swather-thresher the Museum Board and staff feel they have acquired an exhibit that can be classed as the 'Only one of its kind'.

The Story really goes back almost sixty years when two brothers, August and Ole Hovland of Ortley, South Dakota, came through with an invention or idea that has revolutionized the harvesting of grain the world over. With enquiring minds the brothers had noticed that when a sheaf of wheat was tossed off a binder with a broken band, the loose sheaf lay on top of the stubble and in two or three days was dry and ready to thresh. In this simple little observation lay the germ of the idea of the swathing of grain for harvesting and threshing.

Once started on this line of thought the brothers went down a field of sheaves cut by the binder, breaking hands and spreading the loose wheat on the stubble. A few days later the wheat was picked up with forks and threshed with a conventional grain separator.

For a year or so the brothers pondered the idea of a new method of harvesting grain by spreading loose grain on stubble fields and using some kind of a machine to pick it up for threshing. Of an inventive turn of mind the Hovland's decided to try out an entirely different approach to grain harvesting. On February 25th, 1907 they applied for a patent on a Central Delivery Reaper and, at the same time they also applied for patent on a travelling thresher.

A small company was formed, blue prints were drawn up and work started on this somewhat amazing project. These men were years ahead of their time. It was before the day of the arc welder and the acetyline torch. With no previous experiences to guide them these men went ahead as true trail blazers. One Centre Delivery Swather was built and one travelling thresher.