Contraptions on the Farm

Sepia Saturday has asked for a contraption. A contraption is a mechanical device.  That’s a beautiful description of a contraption – mechanical – not a single mention of it being governed by some computerized component.

So here is my contraption, my offer of a rather large mechancial device, which was probably known by the name of a Self-Raking Reaper back in in the 1800s.

OldMachinerySo, what can I tell you.  The photo belongs to a family member and came from someone who was born in 1873 and lived all her life in the Carisbrook area of Central Victoria.  It could have come from her husband’s family, Butler, or her own family, Fricke..

I can date crinolines similar to the one in the photo at least from 1859-1866 in the Carisbrook area.

It’s a horse drawn contraption with the man sitting   behind two horses on what appears to be a sprung seat, holding the reins in his hands.

Man on seatThe workingsThe reaper is behind the driver.  So far the best that I can explain it is that a  cutting edge sticks out low down to the right of the driver positioned so that the material to be cut is pushed against it by the rotating paddles as they  drop down . The cut material  falls onto the platform and the rake pushes regular accumulations to the ground to the left of the driver,  enough at a time to be tied into a sheaf, then several sheaves are stacked together to form a stook.

.Here are some images which bear some resemblance to the above.

Thanks to Flickr we have this John Manny’s Self- Raker and Mower, not exactly the same but viewed from the opposite side we can get a better understanding of how it probably worked. It was available c 1855.

Manny Curved PlatformAnd from  YouTube we can watch a re-enactment of a slightly later Walter Wood reaper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN8jLLp0xMk&feature=player_detailpage

Thanks to Backtracking, her hubby, and their friend Eric for help in deciphering the photo.

And do go to Sepia Saturday for links to more contraptions.

2013.07W.38

23 thoughts on “Contraptions on the Farm

  1. Joan

    What a great contraption! And proud they must have been to have such a wonder (of the times.) Also loved the details on the crinolines. For my great-great grandfather James P. McPherson, he was inordinately pleased when he finally could afford a “cradle.” I thought it was a baby cradle for quite a while, and then figured out that it was a devise attached to the handheld scythe, which cradled the wheat in such a way that the sheaves could then be tied more easily. Wondrous things of the time. Thanks for an interesting and entertaining post.

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    1. boundforoz Post author

      The English language certainly keeps us guessing at times, with different meanings for the same word, or a change in meaning over time. Did you feel like singing “Rock-a-bye baby, in a wheat field…. 🙂

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  2. Jackie

    Oh my that’s really does look like a contraption I am so pleased you knew what it was for as I would have had no idea
    Jackie
    Scrapbangwallop

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    1. boundforoz Post author

      I didn’t have a clue to begin with. I googled all the words that I could think of but it wasn’t until someone suggested the word rake that things started to look more promising.

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  3. Wendy

    That is indeed a contraption! I’m glad for the video to see it in motion. It looks like something you’d want to keep your head and hands clear of.

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  4. gluepot

    I’ve seen footage of those mower/reapers in action, and they really are a delight to watch. Thanks for the interesting photograph.

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  5. Lorraine

    And what is that construction in the tree? is a water tank? A playhouse? A pigeon coop?
    Great photo. I reckon the driver of the contraption would have a smoother ride than than the one in the video. And quieter. I was surprised at how noisy it was.

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    1. boundforoz

      The experts say that it is a water tank, which would make sense. The photo is so unclear that it isn’t possible to say with any certainty that the marks to the right of the tank are a pipe taking water to the house. But, it has also been pointed out to me that the house has no eaves, possibly ready for the addition of a future verandah, and there is no guttering to take rain water from the roof to a tank ! So then it would come down to a well or a windmill.for their water supply. Is it a tank ? I don’t know.

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  6. Bob Scotney

    I can vouch for similar but more modern ones from the 1950s as I was involved in setting up the stooks and later loading them. sheaf by sheaf,onto a trailer. Great old machine.

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  7. Little Nell

    That’s a great contraption – and I don’t mean the crinoline, although it does fall into that category. I think it may have been even less practical on the farm than in the town; what women had to put up with in those days!

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