Collection Highlights

Hamilton “Fenlon’s Smasher” Stationary Thresher

 


Current Location:

Collection Storage Facility

Provenance:

Purchase in 1972

History:

The Peter Hamilton Manufacturing Company was established in Peterborough in 1848. It produced a range of agricultural implements, including cultivators, reapers, and threshers.

Technical History:

Threshing machines separate grain from the harvested plant, which is reduced to straw and chaff. The first threshing machines were stationary: powered by hand or treadmill, they increased the amount of grain a farmer could separate in a day. Wheeled threshing machines began to replace stationary threshers in the 1860s and further mechanized grain harvesting. Threshers were initially built of wood and powered by horse-powered windlasses; they were later built of steel and powered by steam traction engines and gas tractors. Threshers were in turn replaced through the twentieth century by combine harvesters, which merged harvesting and threshing operations in one machine.

The “Fenlon’s Smasher” is an excellent example of a late nineteenth century stationary thresher; in this period threshers were being mounted on wheels and were typically outfitted with such features that further sped the process of grain separation. With its high rear straw stacker and vibrating decks, the Smasher shares many of the features of wheeled threshers. Larger than earlier ground threshers, the Smasher would have been horse-powered or driven by a steam traction engine.

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