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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NEW ZEALAND CENTENNIAL: 1840-1940

Indian Summer: 1941

Indian Summer: 1941

Fall 1941. Jackson, Michigan. "Soldier granted a furlough to help with harvesting on this farm, watching threshing." Photo by Arthur Siegel. View full size.

 
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Threshing

He is standing under the straw pipe of a stationary threshing machine. The straw looks like wheat, but could be barley. In 1941, combines were fairly common, but rigs like this were still in use. A tractor pulled a binder, which cut the grain and tied in into bundles. The bundles were sometimes piled into shocks to dry, or were immediately thrown into a header barge (a wagon lower on one side than the other) and taken to the thresher. That machine normally ran off a tractor pulley by a long flat belt. The bundles were thrown into the thresher, which separated the grain from the chaff/straw. The latter was blown out the rear into a large pile like this one. The whole process was very labor-intensive, as all the transport of the bundles was done by men with pitchforks. The demand for men of WWII ended the practice of harvesting grain this way, as there were not enough men to do it on a massive scale.

[Below, the Goodson thresher. Click to enlarge. - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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