Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Antique and Modern Tractor, Unloading Restored Corn Picker

The front tractor is an International Harvester M, a large farm tractor in 1939 to 1952. The diesel M produced 36 horse power, cost $1,700. It pulled a four or five bottom plow. The large, red tractor behind it is a 1990 Case-International 9170. This Case-IH tractor has a six cylinder diesel producing 330 horse power and cost $119,000 new in 1990. The 2013 Case-IH Steiger 400, a large four wheel drive tractor with 400 hp and costing around a quarter of a million dollars used. No wonder the small family farm is going extinct.

The picker is the Overby corn picker now restored and being moved into the Ag Museum. This is a unique machine designed and patented by the Overby brothers. This is the patent model. It has been featured before, click here to see the previous post. To get some idea of how much work the restoration of this machine was just click here for 200 pre-restoration photos. All the wood was replaced, new metal parts made and installed, and everything fitted back together as originally built by the Overby brothers. The restoration was a labor of love and frustration. 


  1. Pretty amazing that restoration. One must really care about what one is doing. I've seen some prices for farm equipment and they are insane! But the farmers have to have the right equipment to keep up!

  2. I have never seen a corn picker and it was in a pretty bad shape before the thorough restoration. It is so strange to see machines with so many parts in wood and it is good that this jewel has been placed in a museum.

  3. Mechanical corn pickers did not become popular until after WW I. They allowed fewer people to harvest corn more quickly. This one was designed to be pulled by six horses, and it took two more horses to pull a wagon along side to catch the ears of corn as they came off the elevator. Corn picking fell out of favor with the combine picker-sheller combined with the gas corn dryer in the 1940s. So corn pickers were only common from about 1920 through 1940. Most were pulled or attached to tractors. Horse drawn pickers came first, but didn't last long.

  4. It is even older than I thought...

    1. Which item is older? The Overby picker is 1904. Back then corn was either cut into shocks and ears were husked as needed during the winter or picked in the field and throws into wagons. There were husking bees which were social events for young people who made a party out of the task.

  5. For a video of moving the corn picker into the Agricultural Heritage Museum in Brookings, South Dakota, go to

  6. Found my way to your blog via BPOTW.

    I've never seen the likes of a Corn Picker until now. Was it an effective piece of machinery?

    Thanks for sharing!