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Thread: harvest in the 50's

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    harvest in the 50's

    OK In have bought this from the dark side
    it would be great if these characters could be identified.
    hope this link works
    The bags on the trailer seem to indicate that they are from Towcester in south Northamptonshire so that area or North Bucks West Beds or East OxfOrdshire
    however we have no clue and it has been posted quite widely on Facebook as well
    I have wondered. if it is a posed shot for a film, TV drama or some such
    https://d1hu4133i4rt3z.cloudfront.ne...9a8bb05521.jpg
    Ixworth Solar Farming Ltd.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    They do all look a bit too clean especially if they'd been riding on that bagger Massey Harris long enough to be ready for a break.
    I'm a bit surprised by the expensive looking wristwatches too.
    It's possible someone took the chance to get a shot while everyone looked presentable for some other reason.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by Exfarmer View Post
    OK In have bought this from the dark side
    it would be great if these characters could be identified.
    hope this link works
    The bags on the trailer seem to indicate that they are from Towcester in south Northamptonshire so that area or North Bucks West Beds or East OxfOrdshire
    however we have no clue and it has been posted quite widely on Facebook as well
    I have wondered. if it is a posed shot for a film, TV drama or some such
    https://d1hu4133i4rt3z.cloudfront.ne...9a8bb05521.jpg
    They all seem to have similar features. I wonder if they were grandfather, sons, and grandson.
    jack caley

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Sorry but I am deeply sceptical. The little MH 735 combine is a bagger but I spent many hours on a 726, 780, & 780S baggers and there is no way you come off one of those looking as clean as those chaps do. They almost look to have new hats on, they are very clean. And look at the chap on the right, you would never wear a flat cap at that angle if you were working on a bagger combine. The thermos flasks are a more modern design than were available in the '50s. But the deciding factor for me was the Shell oil container on the trailer. That is a plastic 20 litre container and in those days all oil containers were metal and usually 5 gallon. And the quality of the photo. is too good for the 50s. Colour and as sharp as that ? I don't think so.

    My guess is that the sacks from Towcester were hired sacks which you could get in those days if you hadn't got enough cow cake sacks. There was one firm that hired sacks and they were called "squirrel" sacks with a picture of a squirrel on them. You could of course get hold of railway sacks. Very thick and you could get two hundredweight and a quarter of wheat in one, a bit less than 2 hundredweight of barley and a "hundred and half" of oats.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    No sign of a spout.....they used to stick up fairly high...nor the top of the tank.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by Gee View Post
    No sign of a spout.....they used to stick up fairly high...nor the top of the tank.
    It's a bagger.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Yep realised that was not the issue after I posted.....deletion failed.
    As a fairly young youngster I assisted with the bagging.
    Thinking about it last night 40 acres of wheat here is a good days combining now, thatís
    180 tons of Wheat......to get lifted and back home.

    Short length of water pipe was the tool here for lifting sacks....two men, one either side and the pipe near the bottom of the sack eased the job considerably.
    There was a host of sack hire companies....all the local feed...seed companies did it.
    Annual job here was to go through the on farm store of sacks ....pair of wool shears and a jar of copydex , patching up any mice holes.
    Sacks used to be stored over wires strung between the beams in the granary, to prevent easy mouse access.
    Happy Days?

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by Gee View Post
    Yep realised that was not the issue after I posted.....deletion failed.
    As a fairly young youngster I assisted with the bagging.
    Thinking about it last night 40 acres of wheat here is a good days combining now, thatís
    180 tons of Wheat......to get lifted and back home.

    Short length of water pipe was the tool here for lifting sacks....two men, one either side and the pipe near the bottom of the sack eased the job considerably.
    There was a host of sack hire companies....all the local feed...seed companies did it.
    Annual job here was to go through the on farm store of sacks ....pair of wool shears and a jar of copydex , patching up any mice holes.
    Sacks used to be stored over wires strung between the beams in the granary, to prevent easy mouse access.
    Happy Days?
    They were certainly less complicated days. I walked into my village post office when I was 14 years old and bought a shotgun licence over the counter. 10/- or 7/6d, can't remember. It was a .410 hammer gun and I've still got it. And I can remember days and days or patching mouse holes in sacks with Copydex. At least it was a job in a dry calf pen on what was probably an awful day outside. I used to have holes in my trousers patched using Copydex but it goes stiff after a couple of washes and not the most comfortable to wear then.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Posed shot I am sure but not sure when. Are you sure that is a plastic drum? Admittedly the shape is similar to more modern plastic. Not sure about the flasks!

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by essexpete View Post
    Posed shot I am sure but not sure when. Are you sure that is a plastic drum? Admittedly the shape is similar to more modern plastic. Not sure about the flasks!
    I will admit that the drum is debatable but the 5 gallon oil can of the 50s was a square metal affair with flares leading up to the top. I think the Thermos flasks back then had smaller tops.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    I will admit that the drum is debatable but the 5 gallon oil can of the 50s was a square metal affair with flares leading up to the top. I think the Thermos flasks back then had smaller tops.
    How do you post a photo on here?

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    Sorry but I am deeply sceptical. The little MH 735 combine is a bagger but I spent many hours on a 726, 780, & 780S baggers and there is no way you come off one of those looking as clean as those chaps do. They almost look to have new hats on, they are very clean. And look at the chap on the right, you would never wear a flat cap at that angle if you were working on a bagger combine. The thermos flasks are a more modern design than were available in the '50s. But the deciding factor for me was the Shell oil container on the trailer. That is a plastic 20 litre container and in those days all oil containers were metal and usually 5 gallon. And the quality of the photo. is too good for the 50s. Colour and as sharp as that ? I don't think so.

    My guess is that the sacks from Towcester were hired sacks which you could get in those days if you hadn't got enough cow cake sacks. There was one firm that hired sacks and they were called "squirrel" sacks with a picture of a squirrel on them. You could of course get hold of railway sacks. Very thick and you could get two hundredweight and a quarter of wheat in one, a bit less than 2 hundredweight of barley and a "hundred and half" of oats.
    My my first thought was that the combine was a Massey 21, but when I saw the reel I think it was a 726. I have photos of both of them, from my young days. The trailer would suggest the days before the hydraulic tipping trailer. Tye of York used to do one where you just took out a pin out of the chassis and then upended it!
    With regard to lifting the 18 stone sacks on to the trailer I have done that all day! We did not use a pipe, usually a broken pitchfork shaft, which we called a hicking stick.
    The other guy I did it with is still alive at 90, and lives nearby. I am not so sure but to me the thermos flasks do look pretty old.
    But why would anyone stage it?
    jack caley

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Sorry Jack but the combine is not a 726. They were a much larger combine and had totally different air boxes. It's a little 735.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by essexpete View Post
    How do you post a photo on here?
    Start off by replying to a topic (or editing one that you have already made) and there are 2 options that achieve the same thing. Either click on the Attachments icon in the top line of the tabs above where you are writing. It's the one to the right of the yellow Smiley. The other way is to scroll down and you will see an option Manage Attachments. Click on that and follow your nose.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    What about a nostalgia day ďletís get the old bagger outĒ get everybody together and have a picture or two of how it used to be?

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    Sorry Jack but the combine is not a 726. They were a much larger combine and had totally different air boxes. It's a little 735.
    Zara,
    It is not often I am wrong, but I am wrong yet again!
    My apologies you are right, I googled Massey Harris 735 and came across a reconditioned one down in Devon.
    All this nostalgia does emphasise the evolution that has taken place in agriculture, for which I do not think enough credit is given.
    I first drove a Massey 21 in1951. We combined 220 acres and finished in November!
    jack caley

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    A friend of mine used to say that his gaffer had a bagger combine and that he (my friend) was the silly bagger who had to sit on it !

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Jack, most of us get forgetful as we get older. I know I do. No need for apologies. But the little 735 was for small acreage farmers and in fact I know of a dairy farmer who used to grow about 30 acres of oats for rolling and he bought a NEW 735, just for that !

    A funny story if I may. Dad & I were combining some wheat for a smallholder neighbour who had a day job. I would be about 13-14 YO. The neighbour had left Railway sacks to be used on the 780 that we were using at the time and they were awful things. Far too big and they were very thick, in fact they would bend the bagging attachment on the combine, and not only that, but if I had accidentally put too much in one of them I couldn't even shuffle it about on the platform. And being so thick you had a job to get the strings tight enough round them. Anyway, Dad had opened the field up, it was standing wheat (30cwt/acre in those days !), and he told me to drive the combine while he did the bags. Dad was a big man, 18st. & fit & strong.

    I was petrified about pranging the combine, Dad was very fussy about his kit and for a period in his life he swapped his combine for a new one every year for 11 years running. He grew quite a bit of corn himself on 2 farms and did a fair bit of contracting as well. I suddenly noticed that the bags of corn that Dad had let down the shute and dumped on the ground were full right to the top. They would all have been 2.1/4 cwt. The poor bloke when he came home from work had about 6 acres of wheat to pick up, all on his own. He had to go and get a mate to help him and together with a big stick they humped them onto a small trailer and took them back to his shed, a load at a time.

    He had a moan at Dad for filling the sacks so full right up but Dad told him that he ever left railway sacks again when he was combining he would do the same again !

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    And Jack, do you remember how we used to cut the strings to tie the bags up with ? We used baler twine (binder twine is too thin on the hands ) Grab the end of the twine out of the spool in the palm of your hand. Fold your arm and then run the string round your elbow. Then back up and through the palm of your hand and back round the elbow again. Keep doing that until you've got a fair few lengths round your aram and then, having placed a billhook in a vice first, take the loops of string out of the palm and rub them across the billhook until they are all cut through. Then take the other loop that was round your elbow and cut it the same. Then you've got umpteen bits of string about a foot long ready to tie the sacks up with. Make a loop with one of them by tying the ends together and then threading it through itself and then put all the other bits of string in the loop and hang it on the rotary screen of the bagging platform.

    You'll need 2 bits of twine to wrap round the 12 bore so it doesn't get scratched leaning against the bagging platform seat, just in case a Charlie pops out.
    Last edited by zaza; 20-09-19 at 07:35 AM.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Someone said the photo looked 'too good' for the period but good film cameras were around and maybe that explains the smart(ish) clothes because it was a set up family portrait taken by a photographer.
    We have some old black and white shots apparently from the 1930s which hold up well and the detail if you look with a magnifying glass or scan them is remarkable.
    It's sad that the great majority of people in those photos cannot even be named now.
    The wonky cap thing might be influence of Americans from a nearby base, they likely did it just for the picture anyway.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    And Jack, do you remember how we used to cut the strings to tie the bags up with ? We used baler twine (binder twine is too thin on the hands ) Grab the end of the twine out of the spoolin the palm of your hand. Fold your arm and then run the string round your elbow. Then back up and through the palm of your hand and back round the elbow again. Keep doing that until you've got a fair few lengths round your aram and then, having placed a billhook in a vice first, take the loops of string out of the palm and rub them across the billhook until they are all cut through. Then take the other loop that was round your elbow and cut it the same. Then you've got umpteen bits of string about a foot long ready to tie the sacks up with. Make a loop with one of them by tying the ends together and then threading it through itself and then put all the other bits of string in the loop and hang it on the rotary screen of the bagging platform.

    You'll need 2 bits of twine to wrap round the 12 bore so it doesn't get scratched leaning against the bagging platform seat, just in case a Charlie pops out.
    You must have been wealthy then!
    Father did both combining and used a binder. Incidentally my brother said that combines wouldnever catch on!
    However we used to thresh the corn, cutting the sheaves very carefully at the knot, and use those strings to tie up the hire sacks. I still remember those bundles of strings hung in the barn!
    The very first time I drove the old 21 (aged 17) I took over the combine while Bob the proper driver had his lunch. The boss showed me how to drive it and went ff for his lunch. I was combining grey peas. All of a sudden there was a Big Bang, I had no clue as to what had happened, in a panic went all round the combine, until I saw many small pieces of rabbit!
    jack caley

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    The picture and the memories related by you all of such times has brought a tear to my eye as I remembered my old Dad working his socks off trying to get his harvest home.
    Brutal work compared to today.
    Thank God for progress.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by LALANS View Post
    The picture and the memories related by you all of such times has brought a tear to my eye as I remembered my old Dad working his socks off trying to get his harvest home.
    Brutal work compared to today.
    Thank God for progress.
    No doubt that it was more physical work than today but by and large they were happier times. Firstly, you were rarely on your own. Always plenty of people working on farms and that made, generally, for a decent working environment. There was great camaraderie, fun, companionship, and yes, some mickey taking. But all in good spirit. Take hedgelaying in the Winter. Always a competitive element to see who could make the best pleaches, who could get a lip off with a back swing of an axe without knocking the layer off. I remember once when we saw a rat run behind 5 ton of beet pulp that was in sacks in the barn. Everything stopped until most of the sacks had been shifted and the terrier had gone in and nipped it.

    Searching for drains when one of us reckoned they could find it with a hazel stick. A couple of lads who worked in the local town would come and help us load bales at night and we'd all end up down the pub afterwards for a pie & a pint. As I often say to friends, in those days even people who worked away from farms were country people somehow. Nowadays where I live it is commuter belt and the youngsters can't afford to buy a house. I remember when the local estate had 9 tenant farmers. Now there is just the one. They have taken every farm in hand that they could, sold off all the houses and gained planning permission on all the old barns and sold them off.

    As my family keep telingl me, you can't live in the past and you can't go back, but times weren't so bad back then and we were never in the mess that we are now, not even iduring the Suez crisis or the Profumo scandal. I'm so glad I'm the age that I am.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by essexpete View Post
    How do you post a photo on here?

    http://farmingforum.co.uk/forums/faq...b3_attachments
    The best thing about Facebook is the logout button......

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    And Jack, do you remember how we used to cut the strings to tie the bags up with ? We used baler twine (binder twine is too thin on the hands ) Grab the end of the twine out of the spoolin the palm of your hand. Fold your arm and then run the string round your elbow. Then back up and through the palm of your hand and back round the elbow again. Keep doing that until you've got a fair few lengths round your aram and then, having placed a billhook in a vice first, take the loops of string out of the palm and rub them across the billhook until they are all cut through. Then take the other loop that was round your elbow and cut it the same. Then you've got umpteen bits of string about a foot long ready to tie the sacks up with. Make a loop with one of them by tying the ends together and then threading it through itself and then put all the other bits of string in the loop and hang it on the rotary screen of the bagging platform.

    You'll need 2 bits of twine to wrap round the 12 bore so it doesn't get scratched leaning against the bagging platform seat, just in case a Charlie pops out.
    That was pure luxury.....bit before my time....but my experience was using sisal Baler twine lengths saved from previous season, carefully cut at the knot. Hung up over a bar stuck in the barn wall.
    Trick was to fold them into three equal lengths....decreed to be ideal for the softer Cotton Cake bags etc....the ones with purple and green stripes on.
    I thought they were long gone......one day on holiday a few years ago parked next to the Nile in Egypt was a Merc. Six wheeler with a four wheel trailer behind. Fully loaded perhaps eight feet high. Every sack was complete with Purple Stripes...just as I remembered them.
    Curious thing was it had a sheet on! Given the brilliant sunshine they must have been pretty pessimistic.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    No doubt that it was more physical work than today but by and large they were happier times. Firstly, you were rarely on your own. Always plenty of people working on farms and that made, generally, for a decent working environment. There was great camaraderie, fun, companionship, and yes, some mickey taking. But all in good spirit. Take hedgelaying in the Winter. Always a competitive element to see who could make the best pleaches, who could get a lip off with a back swing of an axe without knocking the layer off. I remember once when we saw a rat run behind 5 ton of beet pulp that was in sacks in the barn. Everything stopped until most of the sacks had been shifted and the terrier had gone in and nipped it.

    Searching for drains when one of us reckoned they could find it with a hazel stick. A couple of lads who worked in the local town would come and help us load bales at night and we'd all end up down the pub afterwards for a pie & a pint. As I often say to friends, in those days even people who worked away from farms were country people somehow. Nowadays where I live it is commuter belt and the youngsters can't afford to buy a house. I remember when the local estate had 9 tenant farmers. Now there is just the one. They have taken every farm in hand that they could, sold off all the houses and gained planning permission on all the old barns and sold them off.

    As my family keep telingl me, you can't live in the past and you can't go back, but times weren't so bad back then and we were never in the mess that we are now, not even iduring the Suez crisis or the Profumo scandal. I'm so glad I'm the age that I am.
    Although the farming here (almost half way around the world) is a little different, the type of memories you quote compared to the situation today are very similar.

    Only yesterday, prime farmland across a highway from our farm was rezoned for housing by a method which I would call government sleight of hand.

    I would not be at all surprised if ironhead could make similar observations. It's one of the sicknesses of western society.

    I might be described as a grumpy old man - but there is a good reason why .

    JV
    Last edited by john maddock; 20-09-19 at 09:08 AM.
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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    You mentioned a binder Jack. This is a video of my very late MH binder & red DB 770 at a show at Coed Y Dinas (Welshpool) with my mate Gron. riding the binder when we farmed in Wales. Apologies for the poor quality, I had only just got a video camera and I'm not one for reading a lot of manuals !! It was bought at a farm sale in Warwickshire in the 70's and the owner had told the auctioneer that he had bought it in the 50s but that he had only done 6 acres with it because he had decided to get someone to combine his corn instead. I now have 3 full sets of canvasses and 12 bags (24 spools) of binder twine for it.

    I had always intended to have a go with it but never did and it's too late now. I have worked in fields with a binder but never driven one at work, I used to help to "shook" the sheaves up into "stooks" Was it 8 wheat sheaves to a shook and 6 barley and oats ? Can't remember now. Binder is now stored in the dry on a trailer, canvasses hung up in a container so no rodents can get at them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzapj6zQM0c
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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    I am too young to have used a binder or bagging combine. I think a posed picture too.

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    You mentioned a binder Jack. This is a video of my very late MH binder & red DB 770 at a show at Coed Y Dinas (Welshpool) with my mate Gron. riding the binder when we farmed in Wales. Apologies for the poor quality, I had only just got a video camera and I'm not one for reading a lot of manuals !! It was bought at a farm sale in Warwickshire in the 70's and the owner had told the auctioneer that he had bought it in the 50s but that he had only done 6 acres with it because he had decided to get someone to combine his corn instead. I now have 3 full sets of canvasses and 12 bags (24 spools) of binder twine for it.

    I had always intended to have a go with it but never did and it's too late now. I have worked in fields with a binder but never driven one at work, I used to help to "shook" the sheaves up into "stooks" Was it 8 wheat sheaves to a shook and 6 barley and oats ? Can't remember now. Binder is now stored in the dry on a trailer, canvasses hung up in a container so no rodents can get at them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzapj6zQM0c
    I rather think that is an eight foot cut binder. Father had an Albion binder, not as good as the Massey, but did the job. The really difficult ones were the land wheel drive ones in wet weather.
    One of my memories is when they had a gunnery school at RAF Leconfield. I was driving the old E27n Fordson, George on the binder. Of course you could not hear a thing until a Lancaster came roaring overhead at low level, being chased by a Spitfire, I think. Frightened you to death!
    jack caley

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    Re: harvest in the 50's

    No, it's a 6ft cut wheel drive Jack. I reckon any 8ft machines (didn't know they went that big) would have been P.T.O. drive ? If you got an 8ft in some grassy stuff (remember crops weren't as clean as they are now - and we didn't dessicate) I reckon it would have taken some driving. Bad enough with a cutter bar mower at just over half that width when it's thick & wet..

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