In the year 1797, a patent was granted to Mr. W. S. Dix, for his inversion of a winnowing-machine, designed to clear grain from the straw, instead of thrashing. - It consists of an upright square frame, furnished with a hopper for receiving the corn, white in the ear : the grain is separated from the chaff, by means of the friction of a large circular rubber. The implement is set in motion by a pair of ribbed rollers, connected with the main axle, by a band or strap ; and this axle is turned by the aid of a common hand-winch.
The advantages resulting from the use of this contrivance, are by the patentee stated to be as follow:
1. No grain will be scattered ; and the farmer will be enabled to carry in one waggon, ten times more corn in the ear, in sacks, and without the straw, than possibly can be conveyed with the straw, at one load.
2. As the same quantity of corn may thus be conveyed in one day, as is usually performed in ten, it follows, that not only nine days labour, both of men and cattle, may be saved, but also the risk of wet weather, which frequently injures the grain, and increases the ex-pence of housing, is in this manner effectually avoided.
3. The corn being in the ears without the straw, and such ears being rough, it will lie tightly, so as to admit a free current of air: hence, sweating and shrinking of the grain will be prevented; which accident often happens, when managed according to the prevailing method.
4. The ears of corn, thus separated from the straw, will occupy incomparably less room in the barn ; consequently farmers will be enabled to guard it more completely from the depredations of rats, mice, and other vermin.
5. The reed, or prime straw, being thus preserved in a sound state, will be more fit for thatching, col-lar-making, the manufacture of hats, etc. for it is neither broken nor split, as generally happens when the flail is employed : at the same time, all the natural chaff remains in an integral state for feeding cattle.
Lastly, every grain is by means of such contrivance separated from the ears : thus, the advantages of a thrashing and winnowing machine are combined ; and Mr. Dix is of opinion that every farmer, who adopts the various methods proposed in the specification of his patent, will find an increase of produce, far exceeding the most sanguine expectations.
It is, however, to be justly apprehended, that most agriculturists who are already provided with large barns, and who are accustomed to submit their corn to the action of the flail, in the manner of their forefathers, will not be disposed to introduce new methods, unless convinced of their superiority, by the most decisive result of experience. And, as we cannot, in this instance, produce vouchers to attest the excellence of Mr. Dix's plan, we decline entering into any examination of its merits : - for the satisfaction of our country-readers, therefore, we shall lay before them (in the Supplement to this volume) a description and delineation of a simplified Win-nowing Machine; the drawing and engraving of which, could not be procured in due time for the present Number.