Monday, August 15, 2016

Shelling Corn

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After corn has been picked and allowed to dry in corn cribs, the corn needs to be removed from the cob. This is called shelling the corn.

This picture is the demonstration unit they had at the 2016 Will County Threshermen's Show.
It was a Thursday, and there were not enough people present to run their scheduled demonstrations. (I was about the only one around.) So it was easy to get closeups. During a demonstration, a wagon would be parked under the auger to the side to receive the shelled corn. So this view would not be available. Also, I was able to find a video of it in action. A video of an older model that uses a belt drive instead of a PTO. This video has an interesting closeup of the operation and clearly shows the cobs and husks debris piles. And the corn pours out of the auger at a pretty impressive rate. A video of a different brand in action was posted on Facebook. (Click "Not Now" if you don't have a Facebook login and it should let you watch the video.)

In the shot below, the elevator dumps the cobs into the manure spreader parked under it. The big black hose builds a pile of smaller husks away from the demonstration. The debris is blown by the large fan you see on this end of the sheller.

(Update: I think this video is of the one above in action. I was not the only one surprised at the speed, someone asked if the video had been sped up. But if you look at the output of corn, that is a thick stream of corn for a sheller. The comments indicate it is a MM Model E.)

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At the 2016 Sycamore Steam Show. See the description with the video for more information (click below).

After corn dryers were developed, the design of the sheller was refined so that it could be installed on the backside of the corn picker.

Matt Cline posted
Well, here's another one from the archives... 1983, Grandpa's 1950 A with 227 picker and #50 sheller attachment. And a 24-year old kid who looks an awful lot like my Dad standing on the tractor! 😉

In a few more years, farm manufactures figured out how to put a corn head on a combine and the history of shelling comes to an end except for seed corn. But those machines are inside the buildings of seed companies.

1911 Annual Report, p 35
Poster for McCormick-Deering shellers and feed grinders [Wisconsin Historical Society]
Hand-cranked sheller [Wisconsin Historical Society]

Screenshot, -0:31

Video of donkey pulled sheller and wagon doing a "rolling dump." It looks like there are four donkeys on the sheller and three on the wagon. Technically, this is not "just horses," but I used that label because it is in the spirit of "before steam."

For comparison, how corn is harvested today.

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