Inventive ancestors: antique farm machinery 1942


June 1942 potato plantingHere are a couple of photos that were taken in June, 1942, of my ancestors working the farm. Both of these scenes have familiar landmarks in the background, like the windmill that still stood when I was younger. The top photo looks like the field near my parents’ house where I grew up. Seems like someone is tinkering with the machine, probably allowing for this photo to be taken.

I wonder if my parents can identify any of the people in these photos, or specify what field work was being done in the photos? I have a very similar photo to the one below in “As The Story is Told,” in the chapter about the Duck family (my ancestors). That picture describes the potato digger that my great-grandfather invented, and my great-great-grandfather William’s bean puller. Here’s an excerpt:

“Down through the years these farmers have had a talent for carpentry work. They also had a workshop where they did a lot of iron and metal work using their own forge, anvil and tools. William J. Duck had ideas for changes in farm machinery. He invented a Bean Puller for white beans and sold them for eighteen dollars each.

“Clarence too, liked to invent things. For some years they raised a large acreage of early potatoes – what a hard back-breaking job it was to pick them off the ground! So Clarence designed an outfit that was attached behind the digger, on which about twelve workers could ride and pick the potatoes from a moving table and toss them into the outside compartments, where they were carried into the grader and then into bags. When the outfit arrived at the end of the field the potatoes were dug, picked, graded and bagged!”1942 potato harvester

5 thoughts on “Inventive ancestors: antique farm machinery 1942

  1. These both appear to be the same potato digging and grading machine. One has a canopy for protection from the sun. The top picture looks like it is located on the hill where our home is now situated.
    Sorry, can’t identify the workers.

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