1913 Birdsell Farm Wagon Advertisement

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, October 6, 1913:

10/6 – 10/8: I’ve husked about ten loads of corn by this time. My hands are sore and roughened, but I didn’t care very much. I’m thinking of what I’m earning.

Farm Implement Magazine (November, 1913)

Farm Implement Magazine (November, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Yeah, Grandma. I’m glad that you’re happy about how much money you’re earning. Ten loads sounds like a lot.

—-

I asked my resident expert (aka, my husband) how many bushels of corn the wagon in the picture would hold. He estimated that if it was 10 ft. long by 3 ft. high by 4 ft. wide that it would hold about 100 bushels of corn.  So if Grandma husked about 10 loads of corn, she husked about 1,000 bushels.

Grandma probably actually wrote this entry on the evening of October 8, 1913. She started husking corn on September 25 (14 days prior to this entry). She did not work on either Sunday, and I think that she didn’t husk corn on the day that her father went to the fair—so I believe that it took her 11 days to husk 1,000 bushels. In other words, Grandma husked about 90 bushels  a day.

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38 Responses

  1. Your post has me again thinking of my great-grandfather’s homemade husking glove. I have been sitting with it on my hand thinking about how he would have used it.

    • It’s awesome that you have your great-grandfather’s husking glove. Your comments have made me wonder exactly how husking gloves and pegs were used. (An aside: I’m hoping you’ll write a post about your great-grandfather’s husking glove on your blog.)

      • I am thinking about writing a post about it. I am just not ready yet. I need to talk to my mom some more about it and also do a little more research. It is a basic glove and not one that has a built in peg or hook.

        I also have a few other mysterious tools to research :-)

  2. That’s a lot of corn. When we buy corn (sweet corn) in the market, or supermarket, it usually still has a husk. Is the husk removed in the field to aid with storage or processing?

    • Field corn kernels are hard when it is harvested, but it is still fairly moist. The husk is removed to aid the drying of the corn. If the corn was too moist, it was more likely to get moldy. After the corn was harvested it was placed in a slatted crib so air dry over the next several months.

  3. It seems your grandma had to do a fair bit of manual farm work.
    She must have been fit and healthy.

  4. Yikes–that’s a lot of corn. Was the corn being used for livestock? No, I guess they wouldn’t husk it then. So, for human use? I didn’t realize how little I knew about this . . .

  5. Wow. Lots of hard work. I hope Grandma shares with us what she spends her money on. Or maybe she’s saving it…?

  6. That is a lot of work. I can just imagine the condition of her hands. I’m glad I work in an office but I guess every type of work has its own set of hardships (eyestrain, paper cuts and carpel tunnel :) )

  7. Wow impressive!

  8. Some times when I am working out, I think back 100+ years ago when I would be in the fields or forests and working out would simply be part of my working day… :-) Nice post!

  9. Love the wagon in the advertisement. :)

  10. I’m thinking our grandmother’s had an amazing stamina for work!

  11. I also enjoy your historic advertisements.

  12. All I can say is “Whew!”

  13. Wow. Husking 12 ears of corn is the most I’ve ever done. Our present lives are built on a lot of hard work! Jane

  14. Young people were expected to work hard back then. Still that is a lot of corn. I took like your old advertisements.

  15. Wow, I can’t imagine. I bet her hands were sore!

  16. What an accomplishment. I am hooked following Grandma’s days and always look forward to reading both her next diary entry and your information that follows.

    • Thanks for taking a moment to write the nice not. I have fun doing this blog–and it’s wonderful to hear when someone especially enjoys it.

  17. Amazing statistics! Can’t wait to learn what she does with her wages.

  18. […] this diary entry, I now realize that I over-estimated how many bushels Grandma had harvested as of October 6 when she wrote that  she’d husked about ten wagon loads of […]

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