In the early farming days the grains were cut down with hand scythes, large, unweildy knives that were swung with both hands.
It is impossible to describe just how brutally hard it was to swing one of these tools all day long.
An early mechanized method for harvesting grain was called a "Header" because it clipped the seed heads off the
grain stalks and collected them in a wagon. It was pulled by horses. The grain heads still had to be taken to a thresher to
separate the grain from the chaff. The wagons in this picture were pulled alongside the header so that the grain heads were
fed into one wagon at a time. Then the grain heads were stacked until they could be taken to a threshing machine or the threshing
machine was brought to the stacks. Notice that the horses walk behind the header and push it so they don't walk in the ripe
grain and trample it to the ground.
In the rare and unusual picture above a group of men who had been working on a thresher sit for their portrait. Usually, in
that time period, people dressed in their best to have their portrait taken. This picture gives us a glimpse into what the
people who worked on early threshers looked like.
In the picture above horses, walking on an uphill treadmill, are supplying the power for an early threshing machine. The rear
wheels could be put back on the treadmill so it could be pulled to the next farm.