Grasshopper Plagues in Missouri

Grasshopper "Equipment"

During the plagues several inventions were made to give relief to the farmers. Mr. J. A. King , of Boulder Colorado, invented the curious suction-fanning machine. It consisted of two large tin tubes, about eight inches in diameter, with flattened, expanded, and lipped mouth-pieces running near the ground. The horizontal opening or mouth was about seven feet long. The tubes connected at the upper extremity with a chamber, in which was a revolving fan that traveled at a speed of 1,200 revolutions per minute. The tubes and fan, with the gearing, were placed in a frame five by ten feet, and mounted upon two large driving-wheels. the air current made by the revolving fan created a suction at the mouth, which draws the insects up the tubes and into the chamber. They were then thrown by the fan onto a wire screen, and from there were dropped into a kind of hopper which conducts them into a bag. Problems with the suction- machine were keeping the screen free of crushed and mangled locusts to allow greater suction. Another problem was keeping the lips close enough to the ground to allow the locusts to be pulled in. This machine could have been made for around $50, and it worked well on smooth ground or in wheat-fields while the wheat was still short.

grasshopper picker

grasshopper picker

Go to the next Equipment page.

 Visit our other pages to learn more about the Grasshopper Plagues: 

Rocky Mountain Locust Natural History
Grasshopper Gathering Equipment
Actual Missouri Accounts
Grasshoppers and a Sense of Humor
Destitute Settlers
Were they all bad?
Grasshoppers and Trains
Do we still have Grasshopper Plagues?
Missouri Legislation
What can we learn from the Grasshopper Plagues?
Damage Estimates and Restitution
Grasshopper Plague links

This page was designed and is maintained by Jason Phillips and Lyndon N. Irwin.