Pasto Museum features hay press demonstrations at Ag Progress Days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Pasto Agricultural Museum will feature the history of hay making during Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 14-16, highlighted by demonstrations of a rare, antique hay press.

The Panama O.K. horse-powered, stationary hay press was manufactured in 1905 in Kansas City and was one of the early success stories of a machine for compressing hay, according to Rita Graef, museum curator. In 1998, Robert Cowen, of Julian, Pa., and his family donated the O.K. baler to the Pasto Museum, where it was completely restored and returned to operating condition.

"At full capacity, it required two horses, two mules or two oxen for power and at least four men to operate," she said. "It was said that 20 tons of hay could be baled in a day with wire-tied bales weighing 80 to 120 pounds each."

The O.K. hay press has been demonstrated at several previous Ag Progress Days and has proven to be a popular attraction, Graef noted. This year, weather permitting, five demonstrations will be conducted during the show: at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, and at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This year, for the first time, a team of young oxen owned by past museum curator Darwin Braund will supply the power for the O.K. hay press," she said.

In addition to the hay-making exhibit and hay-baling demonstrations, the Pasto Museum will offer a split-wood, basket-making demonstration and will hold its silent auction during Ag Progress Days.

The recently enlarged and renovated Pasto Agricultural Museum will provide visitors with a glimpse into farming's past. With exhibits highlighting the history of agriculture and rural life, the 8,400-square-foot facility showcases an intriguing collection of artifacts.

Located on East 10th Street near the top of Main Street on the Ag Progress Days site, the Pasto Museum provides a comprehensive view of the era when energy for work was supplied by the power of humans and domesticated animals.

The approximately 1,300 items in the collection are concentrated in the time period between 1775 and 1940, although the assemblage of objects spans 6,000 years, or from 4,000 B.C. to the 1940s.

"Our emphasis is to provide visibility for technological developments in agriculture between 1775 and 1940," Graef said. "The mission of the Pasto Agricultural Museum is to provide the public with an understanding and appreciation for early agriculture and rural life, especially in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States."

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.

 

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Last Updated July 30, 2012