Victorian Steam Thresher

Grain from corn has many uses including making bread, beer and feeding to animals. But first, the grain has to be extracted from the straw and chaff, This is called ‘threshing’.
Hundreds of years ago, people used to thresh corn by beating by hand. This was a very time consuming and tiring job.
During the reign of Queen Victoria the threshing drum was invented, allowing the threshing process to be completed much more quickly. The threshing drum in the photographs below and in the video, was made by Hornsby and is over a hundred years old.
Periodically, Church Farm Museum in Skegness re-creates the whole process exactly as it would have been in Victorian times.
The images depict the sequence of the process, and the video shows not only the machines in action, but the sounds that the steam engine and thresher made.

Pre World War 1 Steam Thresher

This steam engine which powered the whole process was made pre world war 1 in 1909.
There is an interview with Paul Copeland, the Engine Master in the video, where he tells us more about the engine.
Once fired up, the steam engine drives a belt which is attached to the thresher.

Farm workers feed the harvested corn, fresh from the fields, into the top of the threshing machine.

Victorian Steam Thesher

The thresher separates the corn grains from the chaff and the hay.

Victorian Steam Thesher

The grains of corn are collected in a bucket….

Victorian Steam Thesher

….and the hay is ejected from the back of the machine.

Victorian Steam Thesher

A farm worker then collects the hay and loads it onto the blades of the baler.
The rotating blades draw the straw in…..

Victorian Steam Thesher

…..and neatly formed bales are produced at the back. These bales are then trained onto a cart where another farm worker stacks them neatly, ready for dispatch.

Victorian Steam Thesher

Diagram of the Threshing Drum


above: diagram of the threshing drum

below: Videos of the Victorian Steam Thresher in action


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