Tying sticks and loading a kiln

Someone recently asked me about how tobacco kilns were loaded. The process can be seen in the National Film Board movie The Back-breaking Leaf that I recently shared on this blog, but here are a couple of vintage postcard pictures that also show how it’s done.

As they show, workers tie tobacco leaves onto sticks and then load the sticks onto a portable conveyor at the tying station. The conveyor carries the sticks of tobacco up through the large shutters – held open with a rope tied through a piece of hardware under the eaves. Inside, workers will grab the sticks and suspend them in rows across the kiln.
Tying sticks photo Tobacco-Harvest-01_zps9fd58070.jpg

Loading a kiln photo Tobacco-Harvest-02_zpsb4eb844c.jpg

4 thoughts on “Tying sticks and loading a kiln

  1. In the summer of 1962 we moved to Newark, Delaware. On one of our weekend jaunts we went up to Amish country in the Lancaster PA area and rode behind steam on the Strasburg RR.

    The tobacco crop was in the barns and the back roads smelled like a freshly opened pack of cigarettes — actually a very pleasant smell. PA barns had siding planks that swung out to provide ventilation for drying the tobacco.

    Getting more nostalgic the older I get!

    Bill Uffelman

    • Hi Bill:
      I think I’ll refrain from adding tobacco odours to the layout. Great memory about 1962, though…

  2. Trevor ,
    I’m enjoying the historic modeling. It’s amazing just how much of the tobacco industry has disappeared. Great work in capturing the essence of it.

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