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)
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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.

  • What

    A horse-drawn binder is cutting grain in this picture. Horses were gradually replaced by tractors, and were rarely used after World War II.

  • Where

    The binder is operating somewhere on the great open plains of Alberta.

  • When

    The picture was taken around 1920, before gasoline-powered tractors came into common use to pull these machines.

  • Who

    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.