Threshing stone

Threshing stone near Goessel, Kansas at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church. (2010)

A threshing stone is a roller-like tool used for the threshing of wheat. Similar to the use of threshing boards, the stone was pulled by horses over a circular pile of harvested wheat on a hardened dirt surface (threshing floor), and the rolling stone knocked the grain from the head of wheat. The straw was removed from the pile and the remaining grain and chaff was collected. By a process called winnowing, the grain was tossed into the air to allow the chaff and dirt to be blown away, leaving only the grain.[1]


Cross sections of a threshing stone on a monument in Peabody, Kansas. (2010)

Evidence of the use of threshing stones in various forms date from the Roman era, but eventually it became the method of threshing grain by the Molotschna Mennonite farmers in the Ukraine from about 1840 to 1900. The threshing stone became the preferred method used to knock the grain from the head because it was less labor-intensive than the use of the traditional threshing flail.[2]

In the 1870s, approximately one-third of all Russian Mennonites immigrated to the Great Plains of North America. The immigrants in central Kansas brought the threshing stone technology with them, and contracted stone masons in the Florence, Kansas area to construct stones made of limestone.[2]

The use of threshing stones quickly faded as they were superseded by mechanized forms of threshing, especially by threshing machines, and eventually all farmers quit using them by around 1900 to 1905.[2]

Physical descriptionEdit

The threshing stone is a cylindrical stone with teeth carved into it. Stones made in Kansas were approximately 29 to 30 inches long, 23 to 24 inches in diameter, with 7 notches (and rarely 8) resembling gear teeth, made of limestone, and 600 to 800 pounds in weight.[2][1] Some smaller stones may weigh less than 400 pounds.[3]


1974 Mennonite Centennial Memorial Monument in Santa Fe Park of Peabody, Kansas. A threshing stone was cut and placed on 4 sides of this monument. (2010)

In 2011, over 90 threshing stones have been located. Numerous stones in Kansas are located at private residences as family historic artifacts.[4] The following is a list of locations where threshing stones may be viewed by the public.

Part of the exhibition at Zmeinogorsk Museum of Mining (in Russia), including four threshing stones at the right.



Other usesEdit

The Thresher is the official mascot of Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas and named after the threshing stone.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Kauffman Museum - Researching Threshing Stones". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Threshing Stone". 21 February 2014. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b "Flyover People Daily News » Threshing stone". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  4. ^ "The Threshing Stone". 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Fast Facts about Bethel College". Bethel College, KS. Retrieved 28 May 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit