In the 1920s 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 Aberdeenshire:
New threshing plant at Insch (from Aberdeen press and journal, 3 February 1920)
Mr James Morrison, Priestwells, Insch, has had installed a new threshing mill, made by Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Hutchison, Aberdeen. The mill is of the latest design, and contains the newest improvements, including a double dresser, carrying a 48ft corn spout to deliver oats into the loft. After a demonstration, the thresher proved entirely satisfactory. It is driven by a Tangyre oil engine of 13 hp.
New threshing plant at Newmachar (Aberdeen press and journal, 11 February 1920)
On the invitation of Mr Robert Horne, Little Brownhills, Newmachair, a number of his neighbours met on Saturday to witness the trial of a new threshing mill, recently installed by him, and made by Garden Bros., Rothienorman. The mill is of the smallholder type with a high-speed drum. The mill was tried, and gave entire satisfaction. It is driven by a C. F. Wilson oil engine of 5hp. After the demonstration the company were hospitality entertained by Mr and Mrs Horne.
New threshing plant at Kintore (Aberdeen press and journal, 1 November 1921)
There has been installed at the farm of Woodlands, Kintore, a new threshing mill and oil engine, The mill is one of the latest type, semi-high speed drum, etc, built by Messrs Crichton, Lonmay, and driven by a Petter oil engine. On the invitation of Mr J. J. Ingram, a large company of friends and neighbours assembled on Saturday afternoon to see the mill at work. It gave every satisfaction. The company were afterwards hospitably entertained by Mr and Mrs Ingram. Mr D. R. Brownie, Skene, referred to the enterprise of the new “laird” having fitted up such a plant on his farm, and returned thanks on behalf of the company for the kindness extended to them.
New threshing plant at Skene (Aberdeen press and journal, 19 November 1921)
On the invitation of Mr John Rose, Westhills Mains, Skene, a number of neighbours and friends witnessed the working of a new threshing mill recently installed at the farm. The mill is 4 feet wide, and fitted with a high-speed drum, barley awner, etc, and driven by a 16 horse power Tangyre with electric start. The grain is elevated over the straw barn to the granary, where it passes through an improved fan which removes all foreign matter. There is also a chaff blast and straw carrier. The whole plant, under a severe test, gave ample satisfaction, and in the opinion of those present left no room for improvement. Afterwards the large company adjourned to the farmhouse, where they were hospitably entertained by Mrs and the Misses Rose. The mill, etc, was supplied by Mr Robert Cormack, millwright, Whitecairns, Aberdeen.
Threshing mill installed at Rothienorman (Aberdeen press and journal, 20 October 1922)
Mr 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.
Prenmay threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 8 November 1922
Mr Peter Smith, farmer, West Edingarioch, Prenmay, 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 by a number of farmers who assembled to see it start work.
Torphins threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 23 November 1922)
Mr Colin Cargill, 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 Mr and Mrs Cargill.
Auchterless threshing plant (Aberdeen press and journal, 20 December 1922)
Mr Wilson Mudtown, Pitglassie, Auchterless, has had installed a new threshing mill, 33 inches wide, with high-speed drum, 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 of 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 a pleasant social evening was spent.
New threshing plant at Methlick (Aberdeen press and journal, 3 January 1923)
Mr George Beaton, Cairns, Methlick, has installed a new threshing mill and oil engine, supplied by Mr Taylor, millwright, Tarves, Mr Beaton invited some neighbours and friends on Friday night to see the onset of the mill, which have every satisfaction, dressing the corn ready for market. After the thresh the company were hospitably entertained by Mr and the Misses Beaton.
Rothienorman threshing machine (Aberdeen press and journal, 18 January 1923)
A new threshing mill and engine has been installed on the farm of Hill of Wells, Rothienorman, by the tenant, Mr Alexander Keillah. The mill was made by Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Hutchison, Aberdeen, and has been fitted with high-speed drum and all modern dressing accessories and improvements. The driving power is supplied by a 6 ½ hp petrol engine from the same firm.
A few friends and neighbours were invited to see the set, and after giving the plant a fair trial satisfaction was expressed with the work. It threshed from 6 to 7 quarters per hour.
Afterwards the company adjourned to the house, where they were hospitably entertained by Mrs Keillah, and a pleasant hour was spent in song and story.
New Premnay threshing mill (Aberdeen press and journal, 21 August 1923)
On the invitation of Mr James Sharp, farmer and proprietor, Burryhillock, Premnay, a number of friends and neighbours assembled on Saturday to witness the start of a new threshing plant. The mill has a 36 in high speed-drum, and is fitted with the latest improvements, and gives an output of eight quarters per hour of finely dressed grain. The motive power is a 10 horse power Allan oil engine.
The company was afterwards entertained by Mrs Sharp, when a pleasant evening was spent.
New threshing plant at Foveran (Aberdeen press and journal, 15 December 1923)
An event which excited interest in the district was the “trial run” on Thursday of a new threshing mill installed by Mr Willox, West Pitmillan, Foveran, Aberdeenshire. Supplied and erected by Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Hutchison, Aberdeen, the plant consists of a high-speed thresher with bagging elevator, and a 5/6 Ruston-Hornsby petrol-paraffin engine. The machinery performed its initial task with splendid speed and efficiency. The company was hospitably entertained by Mr and Mrs Willox.
Kinellar threshing mill (Aberdeen press and journal, 11 November 1924)
A large company of friends and neighbours gathered at Aquhorsk, Kinellar, on Saturday afternoon on the invitation of Mr and Mrs Duncan Keir. The occasion was the inauguration of a new threshing mill, which Mr Keir has just installed. The mill gave general satisfaction in the demonstration. It threshed eight quarters per hour of well-dressed grain. The company were entertained by Mr and Mrs Keir, and spent an enjoyable evening.