baler was preceded by a manual version called a pick-up baler. Pick-up balers
eliminated the time and manpower required for stacking hay and baling it with a
stationary press by picking up the hay directly from the windrow and
compressing it into bales. The first pick-up balers used a rotating drum to
sweep the hay onto a platform. A man standing on the platform forked the hay
into the bale chamber and a second man tied the bales before they were ejected.
An engine mounted on the machine powered the pick-up drum and bale plunger.
John Deere introduced pick-up balers in 1936, and International Harvester soon
followed in 1940.
are an interesting step in the evolution of haying technology, but they were not
widely adopted by Albertans. Their production ended soon after automatic balers
were introduced to the market in 1944. Automatic balers featured mechanical forks to feed the
hay into the bale chamber, and knotters to tie the bale with wire or twine. The
immediate acceptance of these machines, soon known simply as balers, led, in 1950,
to another Alberta invention, the Bradshaw Bale Booster. This was a conveyor
that elevated bales so a stack of bales could be built. It was built by Lethbridge Iron Works.
By the 1950s
most of Alberta's hay was made using tractors. Remarkably, this change from
horse-power to machinery took place in under 10
Judy Larmour. Making Hay While the Sun Shone: Haying in Alberta Before 1955. n.p.: Friends of
Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society and Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism, Historic Sites and Archives Service, 1992. With permission from
of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society.