New threshing mills in north east Scotland in 1922

In 1922 a number of the local newspapers, especially in Aberdeenshire, reported the erection of new threshing mills on a number of farms as farmers up dated their machinery or moved from using the travelling threshing mill to their own ones.

The erection of this plant was a significant occasion. It marked the introduction of new technology, a substantial investment into the farm and its activities as well as a change in the management of the processing of the grain crop. Farms generally marked this occasion with a social event in which neighbours and others were invited to partake in food and drink, and a congenial evening of activities. They also got to see the new mill at work. The feeding of the first sheaf into the mill was at some farms seen to be an important event. That task was sometimes given to a special member on the farm; it could be a long-standing farm servant or a past tenant.

The accounts in the newspapers provide varying amounts of information about the new mills. Sometimes they record the names of the maker of the mill and the mode of power for the mill (water, engine or tractor).

The following are short accounts from newspapers that record the introduction of new threshing mills onto farms in north east Scotland:

Threshing mill installed at Rothienorman (Aberdeen press and journal, 20 October 1922)

Me George Barclay, farmer, North Redhill, Rothienorman, has installed a new threshing mill made by himself. The mill, which is 21 ins wide, has patent shakers, barley awner, and finishing fan, and is driven by an Allan oil engine. The plant was tried on Saturday, and gave every satisfaction.

Burnside, Fochabers – Steading rebuilt on up-to-date lines (Aberdeen press and journal, 1 November 1922)

Last year the farm steading at Burnside, Fochabers, in the estate of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and tenanted by Captain Jas Brown, was completely destroyed by fire. Since the whole of the steading has been rebuilt by his Grace, according to the plans suggested by Captain Brown, and the result is that the steading is as good as any in the north of Scotland. Revery part of the steading is lighted with electric light, and all modern improvements have likewise been introduced.

The other day Captain Brown had installed by Mr James Crichton, millwright, Strichen, a new thresher with rotary screen, straw carrier, chaff blower, grain elevators and conveyor, etc. Captain Brown is delighted with the excellent working of the mill, which prepares the grain, oats, wheat, and barley ready for the market. Capt Brown informs us that he will be delighted to show anyone the mill at work.

New threshing mill at Newton of Barras (Aberdeen press and journal, 4 November 1922)

A representative from the district gathered at Newton of Barras to see the inauguration of a threshing mill there for Mr James Begg, Muirton of Barras. The mill, 2 feet 6 inches wide, with high speed drum, double dressing and humler, chaff blast, equipped with elevators, and driven by a converted Crossley engine, as the third that Messrs Hadden and Sons, Newtonhill, have installed in that part of Kincardineshire. The start could not have been bettered. Everything worked smoothly, and about 9 quarters per hour were threshed. The company were hospitably entertained by Mr and Mrs Begg, and owner and builders congratulated.

Premnay threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 8 November 1922)

Mr Peter Smith, farmer, West Edingarioch, Premnay, has just installed a new threshing mill, two feet wide, and driven by a 6hp Fernbank’s engine. At the trial threshing the other day it gave entire satisfaction. The mill was made by Mr George Booth, Chapel of Garioch, who also supplied the engine. The machinery and operations were inspected bya number of farmers who assembled to see it start work.

Torphins threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 23 November 1922)

Mr Colin Campbell, Newton of Tornaveen, has installed a new threshing mill and oil engine into his barn, and the first thresh took place on Saturday, when many friends and neighbours were present. The mill and equipment was supplied and fitted up by Messrs Robert Garvie and Sons, Aberdeen, and all present were impressed with the working and finish of the mill and engine.

The company was hospitably entertained by M and Mrs Cargill.

New threshing mill – Demonstration at Tipperty, Alvah (Aberdeen press and journal, 24 November 1922)

A large company of neighbours and friends assembled at Tipperty, Alvah, on Wednesday, on the invitation of Mr Duff, farmer, to witness the inauguration of a new and improved threshing mill. The mill is fitted with a 3ft 6in high-speed drum. A Fordson tractor supplies the motive power. The straw, as it leaves the mill, is carried by a mechanical “forker” to a shed some distance away.

Mr Duff, who specialises in black oats, finds it difficult at times to execute his orders. He has, therefore, had his mill set on wheels, so that it can be run out to the cornyard and the grain put through it direct from the stack, thereby saving time and labour.

At the trial on Wednesday the mill was severely tested, but it came through the ordeal well, putting through 10 quarters per hour easily.

Another labour saving device was witnessed at work in an adjoining shed, this being a turnip-cutter driven by a 2 ¼ horse-power oil engine. Its usefulness was favourably commented upon. Mr Duff was amongst the first of the farmers of the district to have his dwelling-house and steading lit with electric light.

After the demonstration the company were hospitably entertained by Mr and Mrs Duff, and a happy evening was spent.

Auchterless threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 20 December 1922)

Mr Wilson, Midtown, Pitglassie, Auchterless, has had installed a new threshing mill, 33 inches wide, with high-speed frum, barley awner, two fans, screen, and chaff blast. Power is supplied by water by a bucket wheel, with overhead feed, but an extended shaft will allow of a tractor taking the place of the water when scarce.

At the onset on Monday a company of friends and neighbours was present, and expressed satisfaction with the plant and the work done, from ten to twelve quarters of dressed corn being delivered in an hour.

Mr and Mrs Wilson hospitably entertained the company, and with a pleasant social evening was spent.

Insch threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 26 December 1922)

Messrs Duthie and Reid, Aulton, Insch, on Saturday had installed a new threshing mill, 30 inches, with high-speed gear, and fitted with “hummler” and dressing fan, sizer, and straw-fork. It is driven by an 11 hp Shanks engine, and has a threshing capacity of eight quarters per hour. The onset took place in presence of a large gathering of neighbours and other frienmnds, when splendid work was done.

The party were hospitably entertained by Mrs Duthie, and, under the presidency of Mr J. A. Cooper, of Dunnydeer, a pleasant evening was spent.