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The Harvester-Stacker

The haystacking machineFarmers are often on the forefront of innovation, introducing methods to increase efficiency and productivity on the family farm. Likewise, patent record for this inventionOrville Newton Gilbert patented his invention, a hay-stacking machine, on March 31,1936. An alternative to the traditional method of harvesting wheat, Gilbert’s inventions introduced a way of stacking crops rather than binding small bushels with twine.

The Harvester-Stacker was a large wagon-box with a v-shaped floor. The box was balanced on a central axle so that it could be tilted backwards to allow the material inside to tumble out. A binder would run along side the stacker, passing cut hay onto a conveyor belt that would run up into the wagon-box. Farmhands would then tramp the hay until the barge was full, and a perfectly topped stack would be deposited onto the ground.

Advertisements for the invention claimed it would cut threshing expenses by 50 percent, increase the feed value of the straw and produce a higher-grade value of hay. Farmers testified that wheat threshed from the invention was of higher quality, heavier weight per bushel and had less moisture content. Despite this, however, the hay stacker was not a commercial success. George Comstock of the Rosebud Historical Society remembers seeing the stackers in his childhood and says that the main problem they presented was that threshing machines had to be moved to thresh each stack. This was a strenuous and time-consuming process, and may have contributed to the lack of interest from the greater farming community.

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