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My nephew is into restoring old buildings. A few years ago he purchased an old barn with a hay press in it. From his research he has found out that there are only 7 remaining hay presses in Southern Indiana. Only 2 of them are still in working order with his being one & the other in a state park somewhere.

Every fall he does a demonstration of the press. This was the first year we were able to make it. It was awesome! The press itself weighs around 9500 pounds. It is suspended from the beams in the barn & does not rest on the floor below at all. Part of the press is upstairs & the other part is down. A horse turns the press in the basement. This pulls the wooden press up & then it is released to fall & compress the hay that has been thrown in the chute. This is done several times until you have your bale. The bales weighed roughly 300-400 pounds. He doesn't make them quite that big because he doesn't want to chance breaking anything. The press he has was owned by the guy that designed & patented the press. It was built in 1843.

Here are some pics:

haypress.jpg

haypress2.jpg

haypress3.jpg

haypress5.jpg

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enjoying a hayride

hayride.jpg

my youngest two girls

girls.jpg

my youngest boy & I resting in the barn

mephil.jpg


My nephews plan is to one day have a working village, kind of like Conner Prairie in Indiana. He already has a cabin & another barn torn down & marked to reassemble on the grounds. It was really cool watching the press work. If any of you are ever this way the second Saturday in October, that is when he usually does the demonstration. There is also a blacksmith shop & a milk house on the property along with a chicken house. It's slowly coming together.

A very fun day. We went on a hayride, walked along the huge creek that runs nearby & also did a tomahawk throw. I actually hit the wood 4 times. :D They did cider pressing & also had a corn sheller for the kids to do. Each year he tries to add something new. Didn't cost anything, just donations.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is a link to a video of the press being run & some pictures in a slideshow. Just click the slide show tab.

http://caseysoutdoor.com/haypress.php


If you watch the video it will show the horse working downstairs. The guy downstairs also runs the chute up stairs. Really neat thing to watch & a really neat invention.
 

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How very interesting. I've never even heard of a hay press before.
I would love to do what your nephew is doing. There is a village like Connor prairie about 25-30 miles from me in Rockville. It's called Billie Creek Village, I absolutely love the place.
 

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At one time there were roughly 200 hay presses. As they became unneeded, they would be removed from the barns to make more room for other things. Hay was a cash crop in that time because of the people in the towns that did not have a way to make their own. They would make these big bales, haul them to the river & sell them. He has another barn torn down & ready to be rebuilt that also has a hay press in it. Although I am not sure if it is a working one. His profession is landscaping & he is very particular about things & that is why things look so great. He is very detailed. If he ever gets the village thing going on & want to be one of the helpers.

We went to Conner Prairie a couple of years ago & it was really cool. I hope he gets this up & going. I love the history & it would be fun to be a part of something like that.
 

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Awesome barn! I hope he achieves his goal of putting the village together.
 

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I so could live there. It is out in the middle of nowhere, nice & quiet, down a long mile drive which is actually a road, but they own the ground all around it. If he gets the village made it may become my vacation spot! :D
 

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Wendy, that sort of event/site is right down our alley! We are planning to attend the Old Deutsch Country Days at Marthasville MO this weekend. One guy's vision/dream to educate us about our forebears.

Good luck to him.
 
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