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Threshing Machine in Dennewitz, Bessarabia

Text taken from the family history, Weber, located in the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.


One day the news that G. K. had purchased a brand new threshing machine in Dennewitz spread like wildfire among the farmers in Arzis. Soon the new machine was delivered and gaped at by the villagers. Two iron axles connected to a multi-edged, tapered stone framed in acacia wood where two spring bars were attached. The grain was spread on the hard-rolled surface of the threshing area and the stone was dragged over it by horses. The grain was turned three times with either rakes or wooden forks until the kernels were shelled. Then the straw was removed and the next load was spread. At late afternoon the threshed grain was gathered and taken to the cleaning mill where the chaff was blown off, letting the heavier kernels settle and roll into the openings of grain sacks underneath. The Heimatmuseum of Stuttgart has models of these implements. The invention of this threshing machine was noteworthy—it replaced the threshing flail and a farmer could process 300 pounds of wheat a day with it. Larger farmers had two, some even had three of these machines. The time saving was important but the chaff was equally vital as fodder supplement for the livestock. It was mixed with bran and barley grist and tided over horses, cows, and sheep in the winter. A full fodder building was vital, especially since hay was not necessarily available every year. The straw, mixed with dry dung was the fuel of the steppes where wood was scarce. Wood stoves and baking ovens were heated with straw and a large, brick lined stove, fuelled with straw and dung easily heated two rooms. Small wonder that the threshing machine, pioneered by Karl Gutsche in Dennewitz was such a success!

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