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Threshing by Steam

These pendant trade cards, published by the American Cereal Company, the manufacturer of Quaker Oats, celebrate the technologies that made large-scale agribusiness possible by the end of the nineteenth century.

By comparing the two pictures, viewers could “see how far we’ve come” from the days when individual farmers reaped grain with scythes near their dwellings and arranged it into small stacks to await threshing by flailing or threading, and winnowing by hand. In the card picturing current times, teams of farmers gather in a vast field to feed huge wagonloads of machine-reaped grain into steam-powered thresher/separators.

The result is vast mounds of oats that will be processed into breakfast cereal for national distribution. In the case of these trade cards, at least, a picturesque scene of farm life is replaced with a new idea of agricultural plenty.

 
Details from trade card below.
CLICK EITHER IMAGE TO ENLARGE

H. Bolton Jones and Francis C. Jones, Threshing by Steam, 1893. Chromolithographed trade card, (5 x 7 ½ in). Printed by Armstrong & Co. Lithographers, Boston. Published by the American Cereal Co., Chicago.
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