Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Antique Hay Baler

As I mentioned in the blog yesterday, we saw some interesting equipment at their antique farm equipment display.  What really took my eye was an old stationary hay baler very similar to what my dad bought and used when I was about 5 years of age.

They actually had two of them, and both had been partially re-constructed.   I introduced myself to a local farmer that was helping there and told him that my dad had a similar baler when I was a small boy.   His first question was, "do you have any photos of the baler?"  It was obvious that they are rebuilding the unit based upon what they logically feel needs to be there.   They have done a good job.

For those of you that don't grasp what I'm talking about, a stationary baler is parked (tied down) and power supplied by a belt from a tractor.  Then the hay is brought in from the field and pitched into the baler before it was hoisted into the hay mow.   Using a baler, I suspect that a farmer could store 4 or 5 times as much hay in the mow.

It may not mean much to the rest of you, but to me it was a link into my past.  Several years ago I saw a partial version of one at  Pioneer Village in Minden, NE.  It is just a piece of farm machinery that was rapidly made obsolete as farm machinery improved to make "haying" for efficient.

There are obviously some very talented farmers in the Nappanee area because of the types of rework that had gone into the tractors.    In one case, they had an "Oil-Pull Rumley" tractor, which was originally built in Waterloo, IA.   It was apparent that he had built a new frame for the unit plus a gear mounting plate.  The gear mount was made out of one inch steel, roughly 3 feet square, something more then what a man could handle alone.

They also had an operating threshing machine   The thing about a threshing machine is that it generates lots of dust.  Farmers always tried to site the threshing machine so that the straw stack and chaff did not blow into the work area.   As I watched the threshing machine operate, it didn't take much imagination  to visualize how dirty a job it could be.

They had a mix of old steam engines and old gas engines.  I tried to avoid getting too close to the steamers.  I know that at Mt. Pleasant Iowa, if you bring a steamer in to their "Old Thresher's Days", it has to be inspected by the state to insure that the boiler meets state safety standards.  In this case, I'm not certain that much attention  is paid to the details.

In a nutshell, they made my day.



  1. Like. I know, there isn't a like button in your blog But count me among those who enjoy seeing technology win over physical labor. This is a great photo! Thanks.

  2. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.
    farmmachinery used

  3. My father had one of those old balers. I was to young to pitch hay in so I pushed the wire through and tied the wire. I think I was 6 when I got that job. We got a tractor pulled baler when I was ten.

  4. My dad has this exact hay press - would love to know who manufactured them or more information about them.