I remember the time when...

1.5 cwt is 168lbs,

2 of them on each shoulder totals 672lbs, which is twice what Olympic powerlifters lift.

I smell a bit of exaggeration in these vintage farming threads.
Yes, I’m sure there’s a bit of exaggeration there but none the less, 2 1/4 cwt sacks were common and men used to carry them on a regular basis, it was part of the job. No doubt your average farmer/farm worker was much stronger and fitter then than now and no doubt some of them felt the ill effects of shifting such weight.
As I mentioned earlier, the tale my late uncle told of the men putting 2 56llb weights in a 2 1/4 cwt sack to see what he was made of, he didn’t say it was easy, it was sheer bloody determination not to give in that got him to the top of the granary steps and I got the impression they’d picked on him as the strongest man there and that none of the others gave it a go.
 
My uncle was an animal feed merchant, any sacks less than 1 cwt he used to pick up 2 at a time. He was still doing this well into his 70's & I think Red Label cake was in 70lb bags
I can also remember milk churns and water cooling. Churns would be loaded on an open truck and then driven round for 4 or 5 hours before getting to the Dairy! On a hot summer's day, you'd get half of yesterday's milk back marked PQK (poor keeping quality) No lab tests back in the day, they'd just see what it smelt like!
The receiving man on the dairy deck was a bit of an artist in his own right . a good experienced "sniffer" could tell you whether it was night's milk or morning's , whether you had changed to silage from hay , what breed of cows you kept , and a whole lot more . I don't suppose he could have got as far as the colour of your Grandma's hair . But nearly I think .
 

Kidds

Member
Yes, I’m sure there’s a bit of exaggeration there but none the less, 2 1/4 cwt sacks were common and men used to carry them on a regular basis, it was part of the job. No doubt your average farmer/farm worker was much stronger and fitter then than now and no doubt some of them felt the ill effects of shifting such weight.
As I mentioned earlier, the tale my late uncle told of the men putting 2 56llb weights in a 2 1/4 cwt sack to see what he was made of, he didn’t say it was easy, it was sheer bloody determination not to give in that got him to the top of the granary steps and I got the impression they’d picked on him as the strongest man there and that none of the others gave it a go.
I remember talking to possibly the strongest man I ever knew, a friend of mine that was older than me. He said one of the strongest men he ever knew and worked with was my grandfather.
It's easy to make your Dad out to be more than maybe he really was, rose tinted glasses, idolisation etc, but my Dad was bloody strong. He never stopped, I'm there sweating buckets and gasping for breath and he just kept going. I'm not talking about me as a kid but in my 30's and doing my best to make sure nobody can keep up with me, I still couldn't keep up with Dad (and no doubt he was nearly killing himself making sure I couldn't).
I'd like to think a bit has rubbed off on me, I'd also like to think my lad will look up to me in the same way ( I think he probably does). Funny thing is that I now work for him at times and by God it nearly kills me making sure I put on a good show. Him too of course trying to keep up. :D
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
It does seem as you get older, the ability to keep going inceases. I am certain I could not have begun to do the long distance cycling I do and also to keep going day on day when I was a young man.
It wa a great pleasure as a father when my son was walking all over me on one long distance ride. It was even better to get past him in the final stretch and beat him;)
 
It does seem as you get older, the ability to keep going inceases. I am certain I could not have begun to do the long distance cycling I do and also to keep going day on day when I was a young man.
It wa a great pleasure as a father when my son was walking all over me on one long distance ride. It was even better to get past him in the final stretch and beat him;)
Yeah stamina increases in late middle age. Most deca iron tri competitors are in their 40s/50s.
 
My uncle who had been living abroad for a long time and hadn't been on a farm since the 50s if not before was watching me dag some lambs and couldn't understand why I wasn't picking up the shitty wool and putting it in a bag. I told him it was worthless and he couldn't believe it. Had spent his childhood picking up wool off the floor and off the fences to sell and watching his dad (my great grandfather) shearing dead ewes before burying them. Now it hardly covers the cost of shearing.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
I remember the days when nearly every farm around here had an Irish man working and living on the farm. Living quarters was a shed you'd be shamed for putting a dog in these days. Not one of those men could stand up straight.
Different times and damned glad of that!
Every farm here had a prisoner of war as well. Some until quite recently. Some even married into the family! Conditions were terrible for them initially, but they worked hard and did well.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
Yes, I’m sure there’s a bit of exaggeration there but none the less, 2 1/4 cwt sacks were common and men used to carry them on a regular basis, it was part of the job. No doubt your average farmer/farm worker was much stronger and fitter then than now and no doubt some of them felt the ill effects of shifting such weight.
As I mentioned earlier, the tale my late uncle told of the men putting 2 56llb weights in a 2 1/4 cwt sack to see what he was made of, he didn’t say it was easy, it was sheer bloody determination not to give in that got him to the top of the granary steps and I got the impression they’d picked on him as the strongest man there and that none of the others gave it a go.
They didnt lift the 18 stone sacks, they would be loaded onto the mans back for him to carry.
I wince when i look at stone granary steps and look at the wear on then
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
We always used to grow an acre of mangolds and had to get them hand lifted and pied down before the frosts. Then we used to put them through the root cutter during the winter and take two scuttles of them out to the ewes after lambing time.

We still have the root cutter ( with a motor on it now) and we sometimes still use it to chop fodder beet for the cattle. I dont know why really, but it looks and feels good.
 
I met a bloke a fair time ago who could could lift a grain shovel with me sat in it. I thought that was pretty impressive.

To this day I still don't know how blokes used to handle those sacks all day. You might well have the muscle mass to do it but I can't see the human skeleton sticking that long term, they must have had aches and pains, ruptured discs, haemorrhoids and hernias galore.

I don't know anything about olympic weight lifting but I would watch the worlds strongest man competition from time to time. The two axes thing was impressive. Outstretch your arms like you are on a crucifix and hold a big lump of metal the shape of an axe in each hand. Each weighed exactly 110kg. And you have to hold both of them up to pressure sensors for as long as you can. Mental.

The other one that used to impress me was the lift and carry big, two blocks with a bar in each to grip. Each weighed 90kg.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
I met a bloke who could could lift a grain shovel with me sat in it. I thought that was pretty impressive.

To this day I still don't know how blokes used to handle those sacks all day. You might well have the muscle mass to do it but I can't see the human skeleton sticking that long term, they must have had aches and pains, ruptured discs and hernias galore.
It wasnt full time work, i am guessing one day per week over the winter as they thrashed.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
I met a bloke who could could lift a grain shovel with me sat in it. I thought that was pretty impressive.

To this day I still don't know how blokes used to handle those sacks all day. You might well have the muscle mass to do it but I can't see the human skeleton sticking that long term, they must have had aches and pains, ruptured discs and hernias galore.
Ex's mother was a retired nurse. Where she worked they saw more ruptures due to farm workers trying to pull cambridge roller pups to hitch up than any other cause. It was the angle of pull that did it. Most sacks were lifted on to mans back so it wasn't a dead lift.
 
Ex's mother was a retired nurse. Where she worked they saw more ruptures due to farm workers trying to pull cambridge roller pups to hitch up than any other cause. It was the angle of pull that did it. Most sacks were lifted on to mans back so it wasn't a dead lift.
Ouch, that sounds nasty.

In middle age, apparently if you try stunts like that it is not that hard to rupture or severe your Achilles tendon. Go careful you chaps.
 
Every farm here had a prisoner of war as well. Some until quite recently. Some even married into the family! Conditions were terrible for them initially, but they worked hard and did well.
Same where I grew up. Quite a few still had and used the Nissen huts that had been erected to house the POWs. In our area they were mainly Italian, and it always surprised me how many hadn't gone back home after the war.
 

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