I’ve got a brand new combine harvester

Now that was the opening opening line of a song by The Wurzels, but there would have been many farmers in Wiltshire for whom it would have been true following a purchase from the agricultural engineers in Market Lavington. This can be verified by looking through the records of their sales between 1949 and 1963, which form part of our collection at Market Lavington Museum.

A combine harvester in the 1950s would have looked similar to this Massey Harris machine at work at Vicarage Farm in Easterton.

Here are some of the combines sold in Market Lavington in late 1956 and into 1957.

At that time, some farmers were buying combine harvesters with tanks and presumably had silos into which the grain could be poured. Others bought machines which had baggers and filled sacks with corn during the harvesting in the field.

For more information on the local agricultural engineering business, see ‘Wilts Ag’ and Wilts Ag!

2 Responses to “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester”

  1. John Young Says:

    Bert Coxhead of Littleton Panell used the services of Mr Perry of Market Lavington for his threshing in the fifties having cut the crops with his own reaper. By 1958 Mr Perry had a Massey Harris combine similar to the one in your photo and it had a chute to slide the full bags down from the platform onto the ground. I used to ride much like the boy in the photo and pull a cord which opened a flap to release the bags onto the ground. If I got it right the bags would land in a neat row across the field which made them easier to collect later rather than picking them up scattered all over the place. The bags were 2 cwt. In later life as a lorry driver I would load and unload bags of this weight. Now in my seventies I’d have a job to lift a quarter of that. In fact nowadays 20 kg (approx 1/2 cwt) is the maximum manual lift allowed in most situations under HSE regulations.
    As an aside, Robert Hooper at Cornbury Farm, West Lavington in 1953 had a brand new Claas tractor hauled combine with its own engine. It was painted silver and seemed very loud and intimidating to me as a five year old standing next to it. Tom Kyte who worked on the farm told me there was an aeroplane engine inside it and I believed him !

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