Learn how during the early to mid-twentieth century, steam-powered threshing machines were widely used on farms in this video from Iowa Public Television. Threshing, the process of removing the grain from the stalk on a plant such as oats or wheat, was a big event that drew friends and neighbors to local farms. Prior to the steam engine, this work was laborious and all done by hand. Even with a steam engine to power the threshing machine, many hands were needed to help bring in a crop. Women were also extremely busy during the threshing. The threshing crew needed to be fed and all of the women came together to prepare food for the crew.
This segment from Iowa Public Television's documentary "The People in the Pictures: Stories from the Wettach Farm Photos" features original photography, restored archival color film, filmed recreations, and first-person accounts of farm life in rural America during the Great Depression and early twentieth century.