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We received this grain binder recently and have it set up for display in our sheds.  It is working condition and we look forward to showing it off.   For more information about this machine, click on the picture.


We have acquired a very large Drag Saw for use with out Horse Sweep*.  The picture below shows it being loaded in pieces for transport to O'Hara.  Click on the picture to read about this story as it develops over the coming weeks.


* see the story of the Horse Sweep below.



The image shown here, is similar to the model at O'Hara.  For more information click on the picture.  





Peter Hamilton Feed Cutter (circa 1899)  October 26, 2015: 

A generous donation from Mr. Mitch Childs of Owen Sound, Ont.

It had been stored in his father's barn for many years.  When the property was sold, this piece was removed and subsequently stored in his garage until making the offer of a donation to O'Hara Mill Homestead.  Note the detail that is still clearly visible.  

May 23, 2015:  Pre -1900 Manure Spreader - Restored

This beauty was restored by Jack Virtue and was picked up today for delivery to us on Monday!  



August 22, 2014:   We recently had five pieces of vintage pre 1900 farm machinery donated to us from the Dupre farm near Napanee. They include a Frost & Wood reaper, two Massey Harris seed drills, a wooden wheeled chisel plow and a beautiful old wooden manure spreader. Volunteers went with four trailers accompanied by Gerrard and Brian with the Timbrmart boom truck to load and transport this great haul back to O'Hara Mill. They are temporarily stored in the service entrance parking lot and will be moved into the machinery sheds when space is cleared to await restoration.

reaper 01

Reaper being loaded and unloaded.

Reaper 02

Chisel plow

The chisel plow




July 18, 2014:   When the dust and grime from this old turnip chopper was cleaned away, it was discovered that it was built by the Tweed Foundry and Machine Shop run by Wm. Garrett & Sons.  It is now is on display in the machinery shed.

Turnip chopper

For an explanation of the importance of this machine click on the photo.



April 15, 2014: Another piece of equipment restored in the O'Hara work shop this past winter is this great set of old double bunk logging sleighs. They now reside in the machinery shed.

logging sleighs

March 28, 2014: 


Horse Sweeps replaced the use of horse powered tread mills.   They were used to power a variety of machinery such as threshers or hay presses, or lifting equipment.  

The sweep depicted in the painting below, was painted as a commission and shows five teams of horses powering a threshing machine near London Ontario.  The man in the middle of the sweep was responsible for keeping the horses moving in a steady and deliberate manner.  The small boy with the white shirt at the barn door, had a very sharp knife with which to cut the twin on each bundle or sheaf.  His job was very boring but he could not "space out" which could be very dangerous for the man holding the sheaf were he to slip.  This man would then turn and feed the head of the sheaf into the threshing machine. Possibly one similar to the groundhog thresher on display at O'Hara.

For the story of the Horse Sweep at O'Hara click on the painting.



March 15, 2014:  This 1800's foot powered grindstone below, recently restored at the O'Hara workshop, permitted the sharpening of scythes, sickles, axes etc. to be a one-man operation. The grindstone on most early farms featured a hand crank, requiring a second person to turn the crank.
It was donated by Audrey McCrae of Lonsdale. Mrs. McCrae, in her nineties, remembers holding the 5 foot long hay mower sickle bar for her father as he sharpened each knife section of the bar with this grindstone.

That steel seat doesn't look too comfortable does it? She remembers her father using a burlap sack to provide a bit of padding!

Grind stone



March 13, 2013:  Another piece of machinery just restored is this "Eclipse" hand cranked corn sheller (below) manufactured by the W.F. Vilas Co. in Cowansville, Quebec probably just pre 1900. The Company later moved to Orillia, Ontario in 1930,  where it began manufacturing porcelain advertising signs. The only thing missing on this piece was the hand crank. With some luck, Dave was able to find one and the mounting hole was drilled out to fit the drive shaft on the sheller.

sheller 01     sheller 02



February 5, 2013:  

One of our most used artifacts from the Carriage House is this cutter (sleigh) which Dave and Rod have just finished repairing and repainting. It has been used as a static display for our Christmas event and on our float at the Madoc Christmas Parade. Here Dave is replacing the upholstry which is still in fairly good condition.


Cutter restore


Winter 2012 to Jan. 2013:  Over the winter months the O'Hara work shop has been humming with activity. Several wooden hand implements such as rakes, shovels and grain scythes have been repaired and oiled and ready for thier return to their Carriage House display area. Some larger items, like the J.M Walker corn sheller, a beautifull wooden harness tree (used for repairing horse harness) and a butter churn, have also been completed. Below are photos of some of these pieces.



Grind stone


Butter churn



Harness tree


Rakes and shovels


seed drill

(Shown here upside down while the rollers and mortise and tenon joints are repaired and tightened up.)


JULY 2012

The second of our many pieces of small farm machinery, a one row horse drawn cultivator, or "scuffler", has been restored to it's original condition. This involved a complete dis-assembly, rust removal, priming and painting in it's original colors. It's always a good idea to take several photographs when taking things like this apart as it makes re-assembly much easier.





January 20, 2012

The current project is the old "Groundhog" thresher which has been taken apart for a total cleanup and replacement and repair of some rotted parts. This piece had been donated by Gurney Barker several years ago and he is delighted that it will finally be brought back to life. 

New work shop

 Jan. 25, 2012

After some new legs having been made and a thorough priming by Rod, Dave and Gord went at re-assembling this primative threshing machine today. A set of old iron wheels have been installed to facilitate moving it around for demonstrations, and the final coat of antique paint and decorative scroll painting will be done in the coming week or so. The large metal drum with its multitude of metal beaters can be seen in the foreground (second photo).

Thresher 1  Thresher 2

Assembly was completed by Dave and Gord in late January and, on February 25, Rod Woods has finished the decorative stencil work and pin striping. For a complete description of its history and how it works Click here.

Thresher 3  Thresher completed

Stone Puller:    

This machine was used to clear the land of rocks and stumps.

Our machine is very similar the one in use in the old photo shown.  Click on the picture for the story of the restoration of our machine. 


One of the tools in our blacksmith shop.  It was, as its name inplies used to shrink rims for a better fit on wooden rims.  Click  HERE  for more detail and a link to a demonstration.










Last Updated ( Feb 04, 2017 at 08:16 PM )