VIEW-8539 | Cutting grain on the Prairies, AB, about 1920
Cutting grain on the Prairies, AB, about 1920
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1920, 20th century
Silver salts on film - Gelatin silver process
19 x 24 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: farming (278) , Industry (942) , Machine (63) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , work (389)
Keys to History
The reaper was invented in the U.S. in the 1830s, and the binder was a later improvement on it. The binder not only cut the grain, but gathered it into bundles, or "stooks," for threshing. It would have been impossible to work a large prairie farm cutting the grain by hand, so machines of this kind were essential if the Prairies were to be successfully settled.
A horse-drawn binder is cutting grain in this picture. Horses were gradually replaced by tractors, and were rarely used after World War II.
The binder is operating somewhere on the great open plains of Alberta.
The picture was taken around 1920, before gasoline-powered tractors came into common use to pull these machines.
The farmer has grown a good crop, but agricultural prices were lower in 1920 than they were during World War I, which had ended two years earlier, and he may be having a hard time keeping his mortgage payments up.