Potato Picker - PEI Potato Museum
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History Of The Artefact:
This machine was introduced to PEI in the late 1940's and became popular in the 1950's for harvesting potatoes across the Island. This particular potato picker was made by Gray-Snyder Ltd. in Hillsburg Ontario.
In 1945, Frank Gray and Ed Snider of Preston formed Gray-Snyder Ltd. was established for the manufacturing of potato pickers. The business also included the manufacturing of potato combines, bulk boxes and digger chains. In 1964, Mr. Gray bought Mr. Snyder's share of the business and the following year the name was changed to Grayco.
How Did It Work?
The potato picker / harvester would have been towed behind an elevator digger, which dug up the potatoes and sent them up a similar but smaller metal elevator. When they reached the end, they fell off the edge onto the picker, where dirt was knocked off by the movement of the metal rungs and the worker standing on the wooden platforms at the sides sifted through the potatoes.
Potatoes moved up the elevator until they reach the top, where they then fell into large potato bags. As the bags filled up, workers at the back detached them and threw them to the side, while quickly attaching another bag in its place.