Threshing and Winnowing
Threshing is separating the grain from the stalks. In early days this was accomplished by men hitting it with a flail. After the wheat was separated, it would be tossed into the air to separated it from the chaff known as winnowing. In some countries the grain was spread on the floor and threshed by animal pulled heavy sleds drawn over the grains. (14F) After the grain is separated from the straw it would be again winnowed. This process could take up to two months.
|In early colonial times George Washington experimented with a new method of threshing. He built on his farm a round barn (first in America) and would stack wheat 3 feet high.|
Then the workers would take special trained horses and have them run on the wheat in circles in the barn.
The wheat would be dislodged from the stalk by the horses hooves and would drop through spaces in the floor to a storage chamber down below it. Another famous American, Thomas Jefferson, imported a threshing machine from Europe and was able to thresh 120 bushels of grain per day.