Antique Corn Sheller/Shucker?

daniel305502November 6, 2010

Hi All! I am back with my 2nd question! Haha. So, I have recently moved in a new house, built in the 1800's. Anyways, I found a thing in the garage.. It appears to possibly be some sort of antique corn sheller or shucker. I had the Amish over to do some work, and they saw it and were real interested in it. They asked if I was going to do anything with it and I told them I had no clue what it even was. They said it may have some value. And I found one similar on Ebay. Anyways, If you could take a look at it and possibly tell me what it was, it would sure cure my curiosity! Thanks and have a great weekend! :)

(Sorry if the photos are a little fuzzy, I took them with my cell.)

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I believe it's a corn sheller...of the sort kept in a chicken house to shell enough corn for a few chickens.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 6:10PM
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So is there any worth to it? Even if its just $20 I'm just curious. Besides, $20 (even $5 for that matter) is good for it being just something sitting around in the garage. ;)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 9:53PM
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I believe it's a corn sheller...of the sort kept in a chicken house to shell enough corn for a few chickens.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 11:52PM
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Here we have another item that brings back fond memories of my youth on the farm.

This machine is indeed a corn sheller. While it can be operated by one person it is much easier to have two people, which of course was usually two young boys ranging from about 10yrs old and upwards.

If you examine the machine you will see the crank on one side and an open flywheel on the other side. On top you see the feed point where ears of corn are fed in one at a time. When facing the machine from the crank side you will see a square opening near the top on the right hand end of the cabinet where the corn cobs eject out of the machine.

To operate one person turns the crank at about 35 to 40 revolutions per minute and the other person feeds the ears of corn in one at a time. As the ear passes through the machine the kernels of corn are stripped from the ear and they fall out the bottom and the bare cob is then ejected out the end. We generally placed a basket or box under the machine to catch the kernels which were then put into two bushel burlap sacks, but you could also just let them drop on the barn floor then shovel them up later. If two guys work steady they can produce about 6 to 8 bushels of shelled corn per hour.

That may not seem like much, but we generally did not use much shelled corn.

For the cow feed we did not shell the corn. Instead a large truck mounted feed grinder would come to the farm every other week and we would mix one ton of corn on the cob, 1/2 ton of grain and ten bales of hay which was ground into a course powder called "chop" to be fed to the cows.

The entire ear was fed to the hogs & horses and they would eat the corn off the cob.

Shelled corn was only required for feeding chickens, dried corn for the house, which was then ground into corn meal or at planting time we would have to shell corn to prepare it for planting.

Shelling corn was often considered a good job to keep the boys busy on a rainy day, but then they didn't get much argument from the boys because it was actually fun to do.

On a side note. After the corn was shelled the cobs were also collected into sacks, and you won't believe what became of them. Are you ready for this? Corn cobs were placed in a little hopper in the outhouse and used as toilet paper. The standing joke on the farm was that corn cobs are both red and white. You would first use a red one, then use a white one to see if you needed another red on.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:03AM
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I seem to be repeating myself!
And Lazy...thence comes the expression "rough as a cob"...
Cobs were also used to fuel a cob burning stove.
sometimes the cows are let into the field after picking to clean it our of any missed corn. sometimes you will see a cow with it's head thrown back swallowing a corn cob whole.
You easily should get $20...or perhaps more for that corn sheller.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 5:58PM
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The husks were used as toilet paper too after the last years catalogs ran out. Interesting lesson on shelling corn, lazypup! Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:20AM
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I would pay $20 for that without a second thought.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:47AM
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In the original post Daniel mentioned they had some Amish look at it while doing some work at their house. Keep in mind that while you or I might be interested in the corn sheller as a novel collectible, they are looking at it as a working tool for their farms. Keeping in mind that those items are in demand in the Amish community, and they are no longer being manufactured it then stands that they have a very high incentive to acquire your machine.

In addition to being a dairy farmer who farmed the old way with draft horses, my Granddad was also a blacksmith so we had a very close tie to the local Amish community. You should be aware that the Amish are very good businessmen, always willing to pay a fair price, but they also love to haggle and they hate to part with a hard earned dollar. If dealing with an Amish man I would feel confident in asking $50 cash or trade and more often than not you would get your full asking price, providing you were willing to take it in the form of labor on the work they are performing for you, or perhaps some fantastic homemade jams, jellies or preserves, but where is the downside in that?

Sunnyca, oh how fondly I remember last years Sears & Roebuck catalogs in the outhouse. My Granddad was very accomplished at spinning a yarn or two, and one time he told us that back during the great depression nobody had any money to order from the mail order catalog, so Sears sent out blank catalogs as a public service, LOL.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:27AM
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Run a few ears of corn through it to see if it is in working order, and if all the internal parts are there. It may have a provision for adjusting to different sized cobs. This is accomplished by adjusting the tension of a spring loaded pressure plate.

A corn sheller was a very handy piece of gear on early farms without electricity where many chores were done manually. Some heavy duty shellers had a pulley attached whereby it could be powered by a small engine.

Horses are capable of eating dried, hard, field corn on the cob and do not require shelling. Cattle have only a 1/2 set of teeth and feed better on shelled corn. Chickens prefer shelled corn. However, cows and horses derive more nutrition out of corn if it cracked or ground, otherwise, the whole kernel passes through the gut. The gizzard of a chicken can break down corn kernals. Chickens also have an easier time digesting corn if it has been cracked.

A major seasonal use of a corn sheller was for popcorn.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 1:44AM
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Do you still have the Corn Sheller? I can't see the pictures but I use to operate one on the farm when I was a kid. I would be interested in purchasing it from you if you still have it?

Westlake, OH

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:47PM
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