Web Antique Farming

Dairy Barn    

Older barns, were usually built from lumber sawed from timber on the farm, although stone barns were sometimes built in New England and other1 areas where stone was a cheaper building material.

Prior to the 1900s, most barns were timber framed (also known as post and beam) forming very strong structures to withstand storms and heavy loads of animal feed.

From From about 1900 to 1940, many large dairy barns were built in northern USA. These commonly have gambrel, or hip roofs to maximize the size of the hayloft above the dairy roof, and have become associated in the popular image of a dairy farm.

The advancements in dairy farming in the early 1900'
s would greatly increase efficiently and production, The new era of dairy barns were designed to offer the cow maximum comfort and the farmer many time saving conveniences. While the manure handling and the milking equipment made some advancements since early 1900's many small dairy farms still milk their herds in barns configured nearly one hundreds years ago.
 RIGHT In the first part of the century, government health regulations for the production and handling of fluid milk required new barn designs. The Jamesway company of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin established it'
s self as a leader in the building and outfitting a new era of dairy farming.. Pictured are four examples of brand new barns from a 1918 Jamesway company catalog.                           Click on images to enlarge.
Barn After Barn After Barn Before Barn After
 Sears Barn  
Plank Frame replaces Mortise and Tenon

By the turn of the century there were many types of dairy barns, with many modifications of each type. But in the early 1900'
s the plank frame barn, in one form or another, became the most popular. The main reasons for the building of the plank frame barn were.

- The fact that it saves in cost of lumber.
- It provides far more storage room in the hayloft.
- Less labor intensive to build than any other type.
Barn Barn TOP A Wisconsin barn raising (click to enlarge) Mortise and Tenon barns required a huge amount of erect. The old-style heavy timber framing, the cutting of the mortise and tenon joints required much skill and labor. This style of barn building wasn'
t done by blueprint but by skills passed on (notice the large audience of children in the tue)

LEFT   With the scarcity of heavy timbers and their increasing high cost, a new type of barn building is introduced. This sequence of images shows a crew of three men building a modern dairy from the included blueprints.
Barn Barn photos Another big advantage to the new construction methods the Plank Frame barn offered over Mortise and Tenon was the new open style greatly aided use of modern hay carrying machinery.

While hay carrier were used in Mortise and Tenon barns It was much easier and less labor intensive in barns with open centers. In the plank frame barn there are neither crossbeams nor heavy supporting timbers to interfere with unloading of hay.
The First Modern Barn Tools
Labor Saving Barn Tools

Some modernization in sanitary equipment was brought about from government regulations for producers of certified milk. However, the wide use of modern barn equipment on the average farm is largely due to the saving of feed and labor and the additional comfort for the animals resulting from its employment.

Good barn equipment was no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity, which pays daily interest on investment by saving material, time, and labor. The various laborsaving devices for the barn may be divided into 3 classes:

(1) conveniences for handling feed and litter;
(2) conveniences for handling stock;
(3) miscellaneous conveniences, which help to increase the efficiency of the barn.

The Hay Carrier

The hay carrier was, perhaps, the first important laborsaving device invented for use in the barn. It made possible the storage of large quantities of hay in the barn and has introduced more economical types of construction for hay storage. At the turn of the century no large modern barn is complete without one.

The scarcity of labor during the haying season and the increased value of hay made it imperative that every means available to facilitate the handling and the saving of the hay crop.

The original hay carrier was operated on a wooden track. The steel track, of which there are many forms on the market, makes the carrier much easier to operate, and is greatly superior to the wooden one. Simplicity, durability, and strength are three important factors to consider in the selection of a hay carrier. It needed be simple, to be easily understood and operated. It also needed to be durable and strong enough to support the loads. Breakage during the haying season could easily cause a partial or a complete loss of the hay crop.
Labor Saving Barn Tools

Litter carriers were a common site in large dairy barns, The majority of Midwestern farms of 1900 had at least a small herd of milk cows. Most carriers were designed with a track system. Track systems were available for almost any situation and included accessories, such as right angle curves, switches and other configurations to permit travel to all portions of a barn. Many times the track system was used in dual roles including a feed car however the most common use was to transport manure. For manure the track system extending outdoors for dumping the loaded unit, either onto a dung heap or into a waiting manure spreader.
A Wisconsin Barn Restoration

The rate, at which barns are disappearing, is nothing short of alarming. Visit part one of the two part story documenting the process that rescued a Wisconsin barn from the fate that has removed so many barns from our rural landscape.
Barn Restoration Part 1
Barn Before
 Dairy Barn Industry Leader
The James Manufacturing Company was organized under the laws of Wisconsin in 1906. Although the company was comparatively young to other established barn equipment manufactures. The James Manufacturing Company would become an industry leader in dairy barn equipment. Successful and veteran barn equipment companies like Louden, Leader, Giant, Ney, Meyer and Milwaukee found success in manufacturing Hay Tools. The James Manufacturing Company would become the dairy barn equipment pioneer

The real beginning, however, was back on the James farm near Wales, Wis., where the first James stalls were made in the old blacksmith shop on the farm. Later, more stalls were made in the village near by.
Born in the Barn
One day it happened that Mr. C. P. Goodrich saw the "new-fangled" stall in use on a farm where he was visiting and so impressed was he with its sanitary features and labor saving devices that he drove over to see the inventor. As a result of the acquaintance thus begun, a company was organized to handle the proposition on a large scale and the business moved to Ft. Atkinson Wisconsin.

At this stage of the history of the business, one man constituted the entire factory force, one girl handled the office work, and the manager, Mr. James, worked part time in the shop, part time in the office and part time out on the road selling the product of the little factory. Progressive dairymen quickly realized the value of equipment that would help keep their barns clean and that would lessen barn work and within a couple of years a very successful little business was established.
Awards and Recognition

The Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture chose Mr. James' plans as the best from those submitted in open competition by architects and other experts. The Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture used the design as the model dairy barn at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. Soon James Manufacturing Company would receive the Grand Prize or highest award that could possibly be given on complete dairy barn from the Great Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco. In addition to the Grand Prize, Gold Medals (the highest awards covering the specific articles) were awarded the James sanitary cow stalls, stanchions, bull pens, feed carriers, milk can carriers, feed trucks, and litter carriers.

Antique Farming Dairy Barn History Content Comments
Comment on This page, content, and subject also see announcements on up coming additions.

Your opinion matters!

We would love to hear your comments. What did you like? What didn't you like? What should we add to make it better. Or add your own experiences related to the topic. Your comments help us achieve our goal of being the number one resource on the internet related to the history of all things farming.

   Case Tractors
Case VAC V Series
Construction Equipment
   Allis Chalmers
   International Harvester
Farmall A
McCormick Deering
   Massey Harris
   Massey Ferguson
   John Deere Tractors
John Deere GP
John Deere New Generation
Waterloo Boy
John Deere M
John Deere D
John Deere Number Series
   Ford Tractors
Farm & Tractor History
Utility Tractors
Steam Engine
Gas Tractor
Nebraska Tractor Test
Pneumatic Tractor Tires
Implements - Machinery
Construction Equipment
Case Hay Wagon
Studebaker Wagon
   Antique Farming
Site Map
Contact Us
Used Tractors
Gothic Style Roof

From about 1900 to 1940, many large dairy barns were built in northern USA. These commonly have gambrel, or hip roofs to maximize the size of the hayloft above the dairy roof, and have become associated in the popular image of a dairy farm. Not as popular as the gambrel, or hip roof the Gothic roof dairy barn is still a common site in the rural area's in the dairy states.
The Cream
Invented in Germany in 1870's, the cream separator would become a fixture on virtually every dairy farm. By the 1920'
s thirty American manufacturers. were producing 200,000 hand-cranked cream separators a year. Including tractor manufacturers, stationary engine builders and retail giants like Sears Roebuck.
German inventor Dr De Laval'
s cream separator that bore his name would become the benchmark all others were measured by.
Barn Copula
DAIRYMEN, generally, realize the full importance of pure air to the herd, because they know the condition in which an unventilated stable is found on a cold morning. They know the air in such a barn is bad, and that the damp, frosty barn is an unhealthy place for the cattle. Early wooden cupolas were little more then decorations. By the early 1900'
s the above example of a Jamesway cupolas was an important element in cow health
Hay Tools
Prior to the modernization of the dairy farming, most all labor saving barn devices were used in the hayloft area.

2006 2007 Copyight Home Tractors Machinery Literature History Farm Show