This spring we’ve had a proper spring clean that hopefully will continue.
Farms and environmentalists are well known to do a spot of hording. Everything can potentially be repaired or re-used somewhere else, but also on farms there always is an enormous to do list and never any time to repair things.
In the tidy up of a container an old potato grader was found.
It took a lot of indoor space so my initial thought was to dust it off and put it as a quirky exhibit outside the café. An initial dust off, a wash and a bit of linseed oil and the result is amazing.
I spent a few evenings doing research on the potato grader online and found a wealth of information and created a summary for the sign above it.
This machine is a Cooch and Son’s potato sorter, grader or riddler. It was bought in 2014 and was used a few times at Church Farm to sort our potato crop. It is still in working order. From the research we have done the machine would have been built between 1906 and 1937.
Cooch and Son’s were based in Northampton and were renowned for their agricultural machinery and even won prizes at the Royal Agricultural Show of England RASE with their potato graders.
Originally the potato sorter would have been operated by turning a wheel at the back by hand, which made the conveyer belt work and move the grates horizontally. Later on the electrical motor from SEM was added to mechanise the process even further.
There is a nice video online to see the machine in action.
Now that I know the history of this machine, it might deserve a roof over it to protect it against the winter rain, which adds another job to the job list!
We would like to use some of the old machinery laying around the farm as historical exhibits to add another of layer of interest and educational value to the farm. If anybody would be keen to help cleaning up some of the machinery and help with some of the research to make this happen please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.