This morning I ran into a great article over on American Artifacts about old hand-style corn shellers. The disk sheller pictured above, for instance, represents 19th and early 20th century machine power before the addition of modern mechanized corn separation. Someone (or a group of someones) would run each ear of corn through the hole at the top and crank it through the gears to separate the kernels from the cob.
It’s often difficult to remember that this rig was considered high tech at the time. It replaced tools like these:
Admittedly, I much prefer the large all-in-one combines that roam the bread-basket fields of America today to the old push-and-crank approach of days past, but those old tools are still facinating reminders of early-American mechanical genius and innovation.
Hand Held Corn Shellers [American Aritifacts]