When the first colonists arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 they were looking for silver, along with other precious metals. The value of silver was so great that those adventurers were willing to travel across an ocean to find it. Silver had long been desirable in Europe as a decorative way to display wealth, but the American colonists would have to import the majority of their silver for another 150 years, until the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1857 in Nevada. This new source of material, combined with the development of electroplated silver in the 1840s, fueled the rise of some of America's most famous silver manufacturers, including Tiffany & Co., Roger Bros., and Reed & Barton.
CORN AND STORE
Seed dealing is a multi-billion dollar industry in North America. Like any business or industry, name recognition and product loyalty are key to increased sales and profit. For decades, seed dealers have placed their brands and logos on almost anything a farm family might use in their daily life. From hats to coolers, screwdrivers to ashtrays, kitchen utensils to coffee mugs, seed dealer ‘promos’ are a staple in any farm household. Farmers are often very loyal to their brand of seed and wear that logo proudly.
This P & O Stalk cutter was used when ears of corn were hand picked. Once the ears were picked, the tall stalks remained in the field, and before they could be plowed under, they needed to be cut into smaller pieces. Cyclone stalk cutters used a paddle-wheel to break the stalks into smaller pieces.
Farmers used many different styles of drying racks, from corn trees to large wire mesh screens. Some used different tying methods so corn could hang from the rafters. In all cases, the ears were separated to allow adequate air circulation for slow drying of ears.
New inventions and modifications to equipment kept improving the labor-intensive process of harvesting corn. Originally hand-cut, bound, shocked, picked, husked, shelled, and ground, machinery was invented to combine processes and make the work more efficient. Corn pickers were combined with corn shellers and the “combine,” the first self-propelled picker with a sheller, was on the market by the 1950s.
In the United States, corn consumption is divided between humans and animals, with 42 percent for human use, including food, plastics, fuel, and sweeteners, while 58 percent used for animals.
Over 3,500 items we use daily are made from corn. Items include obvious food items such as corn on the cob, corn flakes, corn meal, or popcorn, but corn is also used in aspirin, glues, ink, paint, cardboard, chewing gum, fireworks, surgical dressings, insulation, and soaps, to name a few.
This corn slicer, usually set up with a large hopper to feed in the corn, was used to make whole ears into smaller, more palatable sizes for livestock. Dried ears of corn were fed into the opening, and as the handle was cranked, the knives inside spun around and chopped the ears into two-inch sections. These slicers were considered obsolete by the 1940s as new multi-purpose grinders, which saved labor, became popular.
Harvest a field in a real combine cab!
There are many hands on activies for kids of all ages!
Many people came to the exhibit opening and enjoyed snacks made from corn in some way!