The average farm size was about 235 acres in Indiana and Illinois according to a Prairie Farmer survey when this Co-op corn picker was produced. So a one-row corn picker that left corn on the ear appealed to some farmers. In fact, the sign on this picker added by those displaying it says: "Corn picking eased the drudgery of picking corn by hand."
That may be true, but how many safety guards do you see on this picker? How many safety features are built into it? You might not need fingers on both hands to answer that last question, maybe either one. It was acceptable for the day, but not today.
There was a full page story in the Indiana edition of Prairie Farmer from the same era, circa 1953, that is nothing but clippings of farmers hurt in corn picker accidents, displayed in an overlapping fashion on the page. There must have been at least 20 clippings on that page.
The headlines told the gruesome story – "Man loses three fingers in picker accident," or "Corn picker claims another hand." A well-known farmer in Shelby County, now deceased, finished his life with two artificial hands because he lost both in a corn picker accident.
With harvest about to begin, it's time to review safety rules to follow to avoid accidents. They're listed in any operator's manual for any combine produced today.
Farm Safety Week comes later in the month, but there's no need to wait that long to practice safety. Even with all the new guards and much safer equipment today, engineers haven't figured out how to design out operator error and carelessness. Accidents can still happen.
By the way, you won't notice a model number on this corn picker. According to discussion at yesterdaystractors.com. Co-op simply called it the "Co-op one row rear elevator corn picker."