Boy Loses Thumb

I ran across this article in a rural newspaper published on this day in 1930: Harry Hansen … had the misfortune to lose the thumb of his right hand Wednesday afternoon when his hand was caught in a corn sheller. Mr. Hansen was helping with corn shelling … when the accident occurred.

The article really disturbed me because Harold is doing this exact same thing—shelling corn—over the winter months. I had no idea it could be dangerous. After all, there are no large animals involved (Re: plowing mishaps, runaway horses, etc), or large motor-powered machines (Re: thrasher accidents) or large buildings filled with dangerous materials (Re: grain silos).  How can taking corn off the cob be dangerous?

I started looking at pictures of the shelling device thinking that might explain things. But all I found were images of big wooden boxes with a wheel crank. Not exactly fear-inducing.

Then I found this video. You might want to skip all the chit-chat at the beginning and fast forward to 1:50 to see just how such an accident could happen.

Of course, in this video, there are two people working, similar to the accident reported in the 1930 newspaper. But imagine if one person (re: Harold) was working by himself. I can certainly see how one might get careless having to grab cobs, push them into the machine, and turn the crank all at the same time.

Hmmm… I think Harold might use this older, slower, and hopefully safer contraption for his winter shelling. He’s going to have enough to worry about without losing any appendages!

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