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merely drifts with his environment; and the coarse, hardfeatured criminal and ex-convict. It has been estimated that 15 men for every 1,000 acres of wheat migrate annually to the wheat districts. The number recruited from other sections for the harvest of Kansas alone in 1903 is claimed to have been 28,000, a force half as large as the standing army of the United States. Employment agencies in adjacent states sent men into Kansas in companies of 100 and 200. Some farmers used all the guile and promises at their command to induce men to stop with them instead of journeying farther. Some men were actually kidnapped, it is claimed, from the platforms of the trains, and held by force till their train had gone. "In Saline and Cloud counties, when the harvest started and there was a shortage of hands, the farmers' daughters went into the fields while the thermometer was close to the one hundred mark and did the work of men." Many of these harvesters remain over for the threshing, which often lasts until the snow flies in December. Doubtless a majority of the men go as they came, on special railway excursions, for which fares are frequently one cent a mile. The itinerant harvesters disappear so gradually that no one knows where they have gone. Some of them find their way to the mines of the Rocky Mountains. Many of them go to the logging camps of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In Argentine there is a succession of harvest-times similar to that in the United States. It begins in the northern provinces in November and continues to move southward until February. The succession of wheat-harvesting seasons in different countries of the world is given below:1
January.—Australia, New Zealand, Chile. February and March.—Upper Egypt, India.
April —Lower Egypt, India, Syria, Cyprus, Persia, Asia Minor, Mexico, Cuba.
May.—Texas, Algeria, Central Asia, China, Japan, Morocco.
June.—California, Oregon, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina. South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Arkansas, Utah, Colorado, Missouri, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South of France.
July—New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Southern Minnesota, Nebraska, Upper Canada, Roumania, Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary, Southern Russia, Germany, Switzerland, South of England.
August.—Central and Northern Minnesota, Dakotas, Manitoba, Lower Canada, Columbia, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Denmark. Poland. Central Russia.
September and October.—Scotland, Norway, Northern Russia.
November.—Peru. South Africa, Northern Argentina.
December.—Argentina, Burmah, New South Wales.
1 Crop Reporter, June, 1899.
Proper Stage of Maturity for Harvesting.—In most of the wheat growing countries it is a very general practice to begin harvesting before the wheat is quite ripe. This lessens the danger from loss on account of over-ripeness, and if the grain is properly cared for, it does not seem to diminish the yield. Ordinarily, cutting should begin as soon as the straw turns yellow and the grain is in the dough. A good test is that the kernel "should be soft enough to be easily indented with the thumb nail and hard enough not to be easily crushed between the fingers." * In a climate like that of California, wheat may stand without injury for over two months after it is ripe. There is no danger from rain, and the only loss occurring results from an occasional sandstorm.
Machinery for Harvesting.—The development of agricultural machinery is a very important factor in the world's economic progress. Growth in this direction has been very marked in recent years, and in no class of agricultural implements has it been more so than in that for reaping grain. The primitive method of harvesting wheat doubtless consisted in merely pulling up the plants by the roots and stripping the heads from the stalks by means of a comb or hackle, but long before written history crude implements were devised to assist the hand in pulling or breaking off the straw. From these rude beginnings to the modern combined harvester and thresher is a far cry, and the wheat grower who sacks his thousands of bushels of wheat from over 100 acres in a single day has little conception of the amount of painful study and experimentation, and of the numerous inventions it has required to evolve from the ancient sickle the perfected machine with which he so easily gathers his grain.
The Sickle.—Flint implements resembling a rude form of sickle or reaping hook are found among the remains of the later stone age in Europe. The remains of the early European habitations contain bronze sickles. The earliest records of Egypt contain accounts of reaping by means of crudely constructed implements similar to the modern sickle in form. 1 Hunt. Cereals In America (1904), p. 103.
Greece, receiving the art of agriculture as a heritage from Egypt, had similar forms, as did also the Jewish nation. Since ancient times, the Chinese and Japanese have reaped with an implement resembling the sickle. All sickles were used with one hand only. The grain was not
DIFFERENT FORMS OF EARLY SICKLES AND SCYTHES
As lettered above: a. Egyptian sickle; 6. sickle of the middle ages; /.smoothedged sickle; c. toothed sickle; d. early form of scythe; e. Hainault scythe and hook.
always bound in sheaves. One man could bind what six reapers cut, using "corn" for binding. A reaper cut an average of one acre per day.1 Brewer, however, states that in England in 1844 seven persons usually cut one to one and one-half acres in ten hours.2 Besides being still widely used in China and Japan, the sickle is also a common implement among the Russian peasants, and in Sicily. The first wheat raised in the Red river valley in America was cut with sickles and bound with willow withes by women and children.
The Scythes and Cradles are all used with both hands. They evolved from the sickle and form the second class of reaping appliances. The Hainault scythe, a Flemish implement, was a form intermediate between the sickle and scythe. It had a wide blade about 2 feet long. The handle, about a foot in length, was held in the right hand, and had a leather loop into which the forefinger was inserted. The handle also had a flat part which projected against the wrist, and served to keep the blade in a horizontal position. The left hand, aided by a hook, gathered the grain. The early scythes were clumsy and heavy. They had straight handles, and were used for cutting grass
1 Rogers, Hist. Act. and Prices. Eng., 5:53.
2 First Cen. of Repub., p. 176.
only. As the scythe evolved, the blade Became lighter and the handle passed through many forms before it permanently assumed the crooked wooden pattern. When fingers were fastened to the snath to assist in collecting the grain into bunches or gavels, the scythe became a cradle. The latter implement was perfected in America during the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
The scythe seems to have appeared first among the ancient Romans. Before 1850, the scythe or cradle and the sickle were the implements almost universally used in harvesting grain. The perfected American cradle spread rapidly to other coun
AN EARLY CRADLE A MODERN CRADLE
tries, but not without opposition. In England such violent opposition developed at Essex that the farmers were "deterred from the practice." The scythe and cradle are still frequently found in use in Russia and in various other parts of Europe. They are also found in America under conditions which render other implements impracticable. Within fifty miles of New York City are farms on which the grain is still reaped with the cradle. Brewer gives la/2 acres a day as the amount of grain cradled in this country by one man. It required two others to rake, bind and "stook" it. Others say 4 acres a day could be cradled by a good worker while another raked and bound it.
The Header.—All reaping devices thus far considered have aimed at mechanical advantages alone. All of those subsequently discussed endeavor, not only to extend and improve the mechanism of the machine so that it will perform perfectly each and every operation connected with harvesting, but also to apply a power that will operate the machine. Under headers are included all machines that are designed to gather only the heads of the wheat, leaving the straw in the field. Such machines are of two kinds; stripping and cutting headers. The former has the distinction of being the first grain gathering
machine mentioned in history. It was used by the farmers of Gaul as early as the time of Christ. Pliny described it. A series of lance-shaped knives was fastened into one end of a large-bodied, two-wheeled cart. An animal yoked behind the cart pushed it through the grain. After the heads of the wheat were stripped from the stalks by the knives or teeth, they were raked into the box-like frame by an attendant. Palladius gives a similar account of the machine in the fourth century.
After being used during hundreds of years, the Gallic header disappeared, and it seems to have been completely forgotten for several centuries. Only through literature did it escape the fate of permanent oblivion and become a heritage for the modern world. The published descriptions of the machine by Pliny and Palladius furnished the impulse in which modern harvesting inventions originated. Its distinctive features are retained in several modern inventions of this class, machines