Hay Trolley and grapple

So, in our endeavor to put up loose hay, a few things we acquired quite a while ago was a hay trolley and grapple. The hay trolley runs on a track suspended at the peak of the barn and is used to lift loads of loose hay from your wagon, and deposit them at a location of your choosing in the hay mow (rhymes with “cow”)

Here is a good video from YouTube showing how a hay trolley (aka hay carrier) works.

Even though construction of the barn is still a few years down the road, I decided to work on our trolley and grapple during a period of down-time between big projects. The last thing I want to do is be building the barn and have to stop to work on these.

Our hay trolley is a “Boomer” made by the Milwaukee Hay Tool Company. I did find a patent for it online dated from 1906. I don’t know when mine was made. It has “PAT.” cast into it, but no date. Other Boomers I’ve seen online are cast with the complete patent date, so I’m guessing I have an early model.


I thought it was rusty, but it turned out the previous owner who used it kept it well oiled and it was coated in a mixture of oil and dust. From a mechanical standpoint, this was excellent news for me. I plan to put this thing back to work, and having it well oiled kept any sheaves or rollers from seizing up.

So, to clean it up, I just used brake cleaner and a bristle brush. Doing that, it was revealed to me that it was originally painted silver. Much of the original paint remained.


Even though it was silver, before I discovered that, I had already decided to paint it red and blue. New Holland blue and International Harvester red to be specific. I already had it, and didn’t want to buy any new colors.


So, all fixed up, it’ll sit up in the corner of shop until it’s needed. I’ll need to make the track for it to run on using angle iron and also fabricate the “trip”. The trip is located at the end of the track, and holds the trolley in place above the wagon while hoisting, and also releases the center drop pulley to lower the empty grapple back down to the wagon for another load.

With the hay trolley complete, I turned my attention to our hay grapple. It had not fared so well through history. Likely spending most of its life outside, it was severely rusted. I had to open up the releasing mechanism and replace some parts. Being a simple machine, I was able to find everything I needed at our local hardware store.


I wire brushed everything and then “Ospho’d” it. Ospho is an acid that converts rust into an inert substance. After the Ospho application, I primed everything and then painted it, using the same red and blue paint.


It too will hang in the shop until ready for use. Until then…

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