Cross-section of a threshing machine, c 1910

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Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Collection
Agriculture and Forestry
Epoch
1910 - 1919
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

‘Essen wie ein Scheunendrescher’ is a German expression that roughly translates as ‘being as hungry as a barn thresher’, a reference to just how physically exhausting it was to thresh by hand; and perhaps it also refers to the funnel-shaped opening of a threshing machine as it gulps down the corn sheaves.

For centuries peasants and farm labourers had used flails to manually remove the cereal grains from their stalks. Draught animals and stamping mills were also often used for threshing. As industrialised working methods gained ground in agriculture, attention soon turned to developing threshing machines. Among the first major manufacturers of agricultural machinery in Austria was the English company of Clayton & Shuttleworth, which began to supply the Austrian market from Vienna in 1857. By 1869 it had no fewer than 150 employees on its payroll. That same year the company Hofherr & Schrantz began its production. The two rival companies merged in 1911. In the Floridsdorf district of Vienna 2,400 people were now employed to manufacture threshing machines and many steam-driven traction engines to drive these vast mechanisms.

The threshing machines enjoyed brisk sales not just on the sizeable Hungarian market, but also in the Balkans and in Italy. They were equally well suited for threshing corn, clover, rapeseed, rice and peas. For use in mountain regions these weighty implements were equipped with a brake. Lighter versions were also used in remote regions or regions that were difficult of access. In places where little coal or firewood was available to operate the traction engines, they were designed to be fired with straw instead.

It is interesting to note that Clayton & Shuttleworth also found its way into literary history. In 1963 the Austrian writer Heimito von Doderer wrote the novel The Waterfalls of Slunj, in which some of the plot unfolds in Vienna and Croatia. Two of the main characters, Robert and Donald Clayton, were inspired by partners in the company.


Date of origin: c. 1910



Inv.Nr. 9295/1

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