But this year, the steam engine needs some maintenance work, and it might not be completed in time for the festival. So what did farmer's use before steam engines, but after the days when their best option was beating the wheat with a stick?
Farmers in the 1800s relied on animal power. Similar to a PTO on a tractor, draft horses or oxen would walk on treadmills or in circles around a gear, and and their movement would power a spinning flywheel. Canvas bands were attached to the flywheel, and the other end of the canvas band was attached to a flywheel on a farm machine, such as a wheat thresher or fodder chopper. As the animals walked, the machines worked.
Farmer Rob has been busy preparing Howell Farm's ring power for duty, in case it's needed to thresh some wheat.