Threshing at the Davis Farm. Daniel R., Lester H. II, Charles, and Homer Davis. Davis Erhardt Collection

Long ago, horse driven treadmills were used on the farms of Long Island. A contractor would take his machine from farm to farm to do the threshing.

Once he arrived at the farm, the contractor would unhitch his horse and put him on the treadmill. The treadmill stood at an incline and was locked so the horse could stand still. The mill would then be belted to the threshing machine. Once that was done the contractor would unlock the treadmill which would then start moving under the weight of the horse. This makes the animal walk while staying in place, just like a treadmill today. The movement of the horse helped to keep the treadmill moving and the threshing machine working. Every once in a while the horse was given a rest. Once the job was finished, the horse was unhitched from the treadmill and had to then pull the wagon home.

Can you guess what this process did? It separated the seeds from grain and oats. It was also used to saw logs into planks.

Written by,
Michael Ninivaggi

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