Grain Harvest on a WWII Homestead in the 1940s

In 1940 my Dad R.R. Baker, World War I veteran homesteader, bought his first combine. It was a model 12A with 2-cylinder engine with a sacking attachment. It was pulled with a Farmall B tractor. My Dad was the sack sower; my little brother Franklin was the sack hanger and jigger. The sack chute held 2 sacks; they would hold one sack on the platform and dumped it when they dumped the 2 sacks at each dump. I drove the tractor and older brother Bob stood on the drawbar behind me and operated the handle that controlled the height of header. The 12A combine only cut a 5-½ foot swath. It took a long time to cut a field. The variety was Hannchen Barley. The brewers wanted our barley.

In the year 1945, or 1946, Dad traded in the 12A combine for larger pull harvest a No. 17 with a 12 foot cut header. We pulled it with TD 6 crawler tractor. The combine came with electric header control, doing away with one man that would have been a header tender. The No. 17 had a 5-sack chute. Brother Bob and Dad were the sack sowers. During this period we had sack elevator that would convey the sacks up to sack handler on the truck bed. We used to handle sacks by hand, lifting from the ground to the truck bed. Brother Bob and I would team up and lift the sacks together, making it a lot easier. 1947 was good year for price and quality of Hannchen Barley. We sold that crop to Budweiser.

I think it was 1949 when dad traded the No. 17 for No. 55 self-propelled 12 ft. combine, no cab. The following year we bought another No. 55 self-propelled 12 ft. combine. And the following year we bought No. 27 combine. Later on brother Bob bought a No. 181 self-propelled, a bigger come. The following year combines just kept getting bigger and bigger. All farm equipment got bigger.

Lewie Baker

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