I suspect this view of a Holt Bros. harvester pulled by a team of mules comes from wheat country east of here. The Holt Bros. figured out how to build a harvester which could do side hill cuts, which must have been very important given the topography of eastern Oregon and Washington.
Benjamin, Amos, Charles and William Holt really modernized the working of wheat fields of that time in the northwest. They were originally based in Stockton, California, but then opened a facility in Walla Walla where no doubt the ranchers up in areas such as Sherman County got their new modern equipment. They made the first one of these in about 1883 and continued to progress along until they had them with engines, etc. Their inovations were able to do just that, do the side hill and up and down cuts. Just looking at them they don't look all that steep, but when I was in my last year of high I went with a guy who drove grain truck during harvest and when you are riding shot gun in one of those trucks in the field you wonder if you are going to make it sometimes. I believe Benjamin Holt owns the patent on the Catapillar tractor.
This particular photo has been around for a very long time and if I recall this is up around Wasco or DeMoss Springs. I think that is what my Grandpa told me, as he worked wheat up there around the 1900's, or maybe even earlier.
Charlott on 27th May 2016 @ 7:15am
Surprising photo of something I never imagined. Makes those 20 mule teams from the Borax mines in Death Valley look like a bunch of pikers.
Buzz on 27th May 2016 @ 7:19am
I like how many of the horses appear to be looking at the camera.
Kevin on 27th May 2016 @ 9:41am
I wonder if one farmer owned all those horses or if they shared back and forth.....
Charlott on 27th May 2016 @ 10:07am
And how many four footed animals do you count?
nels on 27th May 2016 @ 12:27pm
The driver's seat would have given quite the ride I would think, just getting into the seat would have taken some agility. Never crossed my mind that you could guide a horse with reins that long.
I count 30 draft animals.
Longshot on 27th May 2016 @ 1:31pm
mules? I'm no expert, but these sure look like horses to me.
jeanie on 27th May 2016 @ 7:29pm
I'm pretty sure those are horses, not mules.
Does anyone know how the harvester worked?
Did it sack the wheat?
L.E. on 27th May 2016 @ 7:36pm
There are many similar pictures online. Some say the animals are mules, others say they are horses. Looking at the original print I count 31 animals. The reins only seem to go to the lead animals with the bells. The man to the right seems to be placing sacks under a chute to collect the harvested grain.
Arthur on 27th May 2016 @ 8:08pm
Definitely was not automatically sacked. That sack sower had amazing speed. Not an easy job nor was any of these jobs. The header tender could make or break a good days production. If he put the header to low and picked up a rock, it would rip the draper. Every night those drapers had to be loosened and if it rained and they got wet, everything stopped until they dried. Mules and horses were both used. The team was a lot of work. Look closer and that is a lot of harness to be put on and off daily. Not just thrown in the corner. It all had a hook and was cared for meticulously. Then the animals needed proper care. Harvest was a hard job. Momma would cook three meals a day for the harvest crew. Full breakfast, eggs bacon or sausage, biscuits or toast. Lunch was a full meal roast, stew, chicken with all the fixings plus bread or rolls and pie or cake. Dinner was the same only which ever dessert was for lunch you had the other for dinner. ALL hand made. Biscuits, rolls, bread, cakes, pies, cookies. Everyone had a job and ever job was just as important as the other. My Dad milked cows before breakfast and then the milk was hand separated with cream turned into butter also. No wonder you never saw overweight people in those days. Loved growing up during this era. Valued family and friends.
OrMtnMaid on 28th May 2016 @ 9:51am
Wonderful clue, Charlott --
A reference to the patent is here: http://www.google.com/patents/US1194738
Download the PDF for full details.
Wikipedia tells the story of Holt, and Holt Caterpillar, and a satellite facility in Walla Walla to serve the Pacific Northwest as noted, eventually becoming the Caterpillar Tractor Company in 1925.
b.rad on 28th May 2016 @ 3:39pm
I want my turn as lead horse, the view would be much better than back here in the group
Kenn on 2nd June 2016 @ 12:46pm
Lead horse needs to wear a harness of bells, Kenn.
Arthur on 2nd June 2016 @ 12:54pm