A wooden grain elevator was originally composed of three sections:

• Elevator Office

• Driveway

• Elevator Structure With Grain Pit, Lifting Leg And Grain Bins

A gasoline or diesel engine drove a drive belt, which was connected to a series of ropes and pulleys which ran the lifting leg. This allowed grain to be lifted to the top of the elevator

so it could be transferred to

the grain bins. Later elevators used electric motors to operate the lifting leg.

During the early years, horses and wagons were used by farmers to transport grain to the elevators.

After arriving at the elevator, the horse and wagon would enter the elevator driveway, and park on top of the weigh scale, where the weight of the wagon and grain would be determined. The elevator agent would also take a sample of grain to check it’s moisture and quality.

Before emptying the wagon, the elevator agent would decide which bin would receive the grain by using the grain bin selector wheel. Stepping on the lever to the left of the leg lifts a distributor spout at the top of the elevator. Turning the wheel rotated the spout, and when it was in the proper position, the lever would be released, and the spout dropped into the assigned bin tube.

The lifting leg was activated,

and the wagon was tilted so the grain could be dumped into the grain pit below.

In the grain pit, the grain flowed into the lifting leg. This is long belt with a series of scoops, which picked up the grain. The scoops travel to the top of the elevator, unloads the grain into a device called gurber, and flowed through the distributor spout into its assigned bin.

Once the wagon was emptied, it is lowered down and reweighed. The difference between the full and empty wagon determines the weight of the grain. The farmer was then written a check, and drove out of the elevator driveway.

In later years, trucks began to replace horse and wagons. Some vehicles did not have hydraulic rams to lift the truck box, so two systems were used to unload trucks.

One system used a compressed air (pneumatic) cylinder to raise the truck, causing grain to flow out of the box into the grain pit.

A different system used an overhead winch attached to the driveway roof, which pulled the front end of the truck into the air.

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To the upper left is an Brownduval Grain Moisture Tester, and was used until the early 1950’s. The grain was first weighted, then heated in this device to drive off the moisture, then re-weighed again to determine its moisture content.

The lower tester uses an electrical current to determine the grains moisture content. A sample would be placed in the upper part of the tube on the left. After the machine was calibrated, the grain was released into the bottom section by pressing the button on the left of the tube. An electrical current was run through the sample, and the resistance of the grain to the electricity determined the moisture content. This was read by adjusting the dial on the right, and reading the numerical scale.

The agent would also take the

temperature of the sample. Using both measurements and a chart, he could determine if the grain would be safe to harvest and store.