Monday, July 21, 2008

Vintage Machinery Surprise

GSC, one of our regular visitors has graciously shared some of his family photos from the Oxnard, California area around 1930. These are great glimpses of farm mechanization. The first photo is a baler at work. GSC speculates that his grandfather cobbled this up from a stationary baler, and I agree that it is probably a 'conversion' baler. Compare it to the ad from a 1921 Thresherman magazine, and you can see that a power source and platforms for the workers have been added. This vintage of baler required that two people be present just to tie the baling wire around each bale. I wish we could see how the hay was picked up to be fed into the machine.

This is GSC's grandfather; he obviously was a talented tinkerer.

In this photo we see four wagons very heavily loaded with sugar beets.

This is a thresher for dry lima beans. Harvesting crops used to require lots of workers with an iron constitution. You worked long days in hot dusty conditions for your pay. Old timers have told me that working on a stationary baler with moldy hay was the very worst job on the farm.
Thank You, GSC for the great photos. Is this land still being farmed, or has it been developed?
Read the comment from GSC for news about this farm land.


Anonymous said...

The land is still in the family and is within a county-administered “green belt” which is designed to inhibit development. The property is currently leased and farmed by an outfit that raises strawberries. With its “Mediterranean” climate, it is possible to raise three vegetable crops a year in this locale. The area is just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, and irrigation water has become expensive due to salt water intrusion from over-pumping of ground water. Fresh water is now piped in by a special district. – gsc1039

Murray Stokes said...

Hi, I'm Murray Stokes from Australia. You've raised the question of how the hay is picked up for the 'mobile stationary baler' to do its thing. I'm pretty certain the hay is picked up from the rear using a hay loader of the type traditionally used to elevate loose hay onto a wagon. The hay would then either just fall into the feeder hole or be forked in by a person standing on a platform added for the purpose (or standing on the bale chamber). This was not an uncommon way of converting a stationary baler to a pick-up machine. The straw walker rails of the hay loader can be seen protruding above the baler. Great photograph!