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Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion - Rollag

Steam Threshers working on a Farm, ca. 1890-1900

Steam Threshers Working on a Farm, ca. 1890-1900.

For over six decades thousands of visitors have gathered in Rollag, MN to attend the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (WMSTR). At the heart of this reunion is agriculture, and the attractions include exhibits on individual gas and steam engines, construction equipment, and railroads--all of which influenced the evolution of agriculture in Minnesota(1). This living museum takes place over the U.S. Labor Day weekend every year, giving a nostalgic experience to how farmers remember doing their work and a look at past agricultural practices for the younger generation(2).


US Patent Figure for a Threshing Machine, 1900.

US Patent Figure Drawing for a Threshing Machine, 1900. Public Domain.

Figure drawing of a thresher submitted in Patent US 650253 A by Minnesotan Henry Keller.

The threshing machine separated the grain from the straw and worked in essentially three stages(3):

First Stage: Bundles of grain are pitched into the feeder by farmers; the feeder controlled the rate and amount of grain which passed through at once to prevent overloading.

Second Stage: Bundles passed through a separator, a rapidly rotating set of blades, that separated heads from the straw and beat them onto a grooved plate to knock kernels from the head. Straw would then pass over a rack to remove straw and allow kernels to fall onto a series of small shaking screens removing remaining straw and chaff from kernels.

Third Stage: Kernels fell onto a final screen where a blast of air blew remaining straw and chaff away, then into a hopper and elevated to a measuring device before dumped into sacks or taken to a granary. Straw and chaff were blown out by a strong blower.


Check out the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion's homepage ( for information on their event and activities!


1. Dennis Herbranson & Bill Nelson, Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, 1954-2013, 60 Years of Preserving the Past, (Minnesota: Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, 2014), preface.

2. Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, <>, (accessed 15 November 2017).

3. M. V. Hansen, Farm Collector: Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment, "How a Threshing Machine Works," (January 2000), <>, (accessed 19 November 2017).

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion - Rollag