Demonstrations of the Louden Barn Hay Carrier at Maasdam Barns, Fairfield, Iowa





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Published on Aug 4, 2014

Demonstrations at Maasdam Barns, Fairfield, Iowa of the Louden Barn Hay Carrier.

The Louden Machinery Company was an American engineering, manufacturing and design company based in Fairfield, Iowa. Founded by William Louden, the company in its early years manufactured and sold the patented hay carrier that he invented in 1867. The company later expanded into a wide variety of farm equipment and, in 1906, began an Architecture Department that reportedly designed more than 25,000 barns from 1906 to 1939. During World War I, Louden's monorail equipment carrier began to be applied to industrial and military applications. By the 1920s, much of the company's revenues were derived from industrial applications of its monorail equipment carriers.

Several sites associated with the company have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These sites include the company's 1892 manufacturing facility in downtown Fairfield, several homes in and around Fairfield, and a number of barns in Iowa, Ohio and Michigan that were designed by the company's Architecture Department.

The Louden barn hay carrier, also called a trolley, needed to be a very reliable device due to it's location. The peak of the barn juts out, extending the track, so the lift pulley drops down outside the barn. Under the peak, a large barn door was needed as it limited the amount of hay carried each load. A "trip block" is bolted to the track, under the peak, which locks the carrier position and releases the lift pulley to drop down to the hayrack, which is a hay wagon with a flat bed and a upright back. A loaded hayrack is parked next to the barn where it can be unloaded and the hay moved into the "mow", the second floor of the barn. A large pull rope is attached to a horse or tractor, typically 1 inch diameter, which can lift 7000 pounds, threads through several pulleys, to the top of the barn, and to the carrier and lift pulley. Hanging from the lift pulley is a hay fork or a sling, which has a trip rope attached to release the hay and to pull the carrier back out to the peak for the next load.

William Louden, of Fairfield, Iowa, invented the barn hay carrier and the patent was dated September 24, 1867. He started Louden Machinery Co., to supply farmers with labor saving equipment, and by 1925 had sold "millions" of carriers. It has been said that William Louden did for barns what Cyrus McCormick did for reapers and John Deere did for plows. As farmer began to use hay carriers, the design of barns changed radically; they could be built higher and longer, enabling farmer to store more hay, which in turn meant they could keep more livestock over the winter. Louden saw the change in barn design as a chance to help farmers by offering them a free barn planning service, begun in 1907 to help farmers erect more efficient barns, designed to use Louden barn equipment.

Video produced by Werner Elmker Audio-Visual Studio • elmker.com


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