Farm Collector


Of the Frick Company, Waynesboro, Pa.

The writer became interested in this subject, not by his own
choice, but through a combination of circumstances. His only excuse
or apology for giving some of his experience with and constructions
used in a threshing machine of his own design is, that they seem in
a number of points to differ from those advanced and used in the
threshing machines of today.

Mr. Landis was one of the pioneers in building and designing
threshers. He was an advocate of the closed cylinder. He tells

Since this is the important end of thresher we thought you would
be interested in this early thresher builder telling the story.

The subject is a very old one. We might go away back where there
is now no means of knowing anything about it and imagine the first
work of the threshing machine being done by pulling off the heads
with the fingers in place of the teeth on ‘the present
cylinder. Then they rubbed them to loosen the kernels, which is
done at present by a violent blow and the rubbing of the teeth. We
have some very ancient history, which incidentally alludes to
threshing which might lead us to believe that the earliest
threshing machines are the ‘threshing instruments’ that
performed their work by employing some of the same means found in
the present type; at least, the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 41, verse
15, tells us they had teeth, so that if we view the subject in its
broadest sense, omitting our present combinations of details, we
must conclude that there is nothing new under the sun in the
threshing machine.

About fourteen years ago the writer, through circumstances which
he at the time did not control, was led into what his experience up
to this time causes him to name ‘a knotty problem;’ but at
the start of the work he, like many others, supposed it a very easy
task to hull the grain from the chaff, if we relate only to
threshing. That is really all there is to it. In a short time a
complete (?) threshing machine was constructed according to his own
plans, using cylinders of the same construction as those then in
general use; first, a 6-bar; next, a 9-bar; then, a 12-bar
cylinder, which was the best and cleanest thresher of the three.
The 12-bar cylinder, adopted by the writer, for its kind was and
still is equal, and perhaps superior, in construction to many in
use today. After battling with this (at the time much admired)
construction of cylinder for a number of years by modifying the
diameters of cylinder, the shape, thickness, length and spacing of
the teeth, also the various arrangements and forms of concaves and
their teeth, but with all this he never succeeded when threshing at
a rapid rate, and often very irregular feeding, to fully satisfy
his own demands for clean threshing, and often the grain was in bad

However, the writer is satisfied that his choice of a cylinder
was and still is as good as any of the same type in general use
today; and, at the time, concluded to O.K. it. Up to that time
there was but little complaint from the trade about unclean
threshing, and we had little or no grief from that source; but as
America is never satisfied, she extended her wheat fields much
faster than she could her labor, which demanded machines of much
greater capacity and, at the same time, to use no more or even less
labor. This condition demanded improved and more rapid methods for
handling and delivering the grain into the machine, and also
labor-saving devices for disposing of the straw. So we were all
obliged to adopt the self-feeder and the pneumatic straw stacker.
As soon as they were attached to the thresher, new troubles were
developed in the threshing field. The self-feeder demanded greater
capacity in the machine, often taxing it to and beyond its maximum.
So far in the change of conditions the problem would have remained
an easy one-simply enlarging the machine; but the rear end, or wind
stacker, is where the battle commenced, and the struggle still
exists to some extent today.


  • Published on Mar 1, 1962
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