The stripper in the Dance Cottage museum collection was used by the Chambers Brothers in the 20th century on their farm, Ravensthorpe. It was donated by the familyto the Ravensthorpe Historical Society in the 1980s.
The world’s first mechanical harvester known as The Stripper was invented by John Ridley in 1842 to ease the shortage of labour. The machine which has been modified and improved many times since was produced in South Australia and exported throughout Australia and overseas. It stripped the grain and chaff from the stalks and threw them into the bin at the back leaving the empty heads on the stalk. It was drawn by a team of horses.
The standing crop was guided through the fingers where the heads were hit by the rapidly rotating bars on a drum which was driven by a large ground wheel. The grain and chaff were dumped in heaps on the ground to be cleaned later by the winnower. The hotter the day the better the result.
The Stripper was the fore-runner of all the modern headers, being the very first machine to harvest grain and leave the standing straw.