History Culture German Russian History
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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