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.


38 thoughts on “1913 Birdsell Farm Wagon Advertisement

  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.

    1. 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.)

      1. 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?

    1. 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. 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 . . .

  4. 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 🙂 )

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

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