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Early Louden Carrier Later Litter Carrier

The Louden Litter Carriers

The first patent ever issued on a litter carrier is held by the Louden Machinery Company

The Litter Carriers saved farmers considerable time in moving manure from the barn to the manure wagon outside.  The carrier rotated to dump the manure into a manure-wagon stationed outside the barn.  Overhead tracks enabled the carrier to be moved around the barn.

Latter models featured pulleys and chains which allowed the carrier to be lowered to the barn floor to be loaded, and raised again to be moved.

A factory owner saw one of these at a barn trade-show and decided to buy one for his factory during WWI, and used it as a scrap bin to move metal shavings away from his milling machines.

Louden took this idea and developed the carriers into industrial overhead cranes, and a new Louden division was born.  Louden overhead cranes are still being produced today by Louden's successor.  Scroll down to see how these devices can be used for fun!

The following four photos were taken in the Show Barn at the Maasdam Barns complex in Fairfield, IA, on Oct 8, 2011, where this litter carrier is on display.  See the Maasdam Barns website.

This Louden Carrier was found in an old barn, in working condition, along with the overhead tracks. (10-08-11).
Louden  Litter Carrier

It is now hanging from overhead tracks in the Show Barn. (10-08-11).
Louden Litter Carriers

More overhead track will be added soon. (10-08-11).
Louden Litter Carrier

Sign in the Show Barn. (10-08-11).
Louden Litter Carrier


A magazine article unexpectedly featured a Louden Litter Carrier.  From the July 2005 edition of Farm Collector Magazine.

The text of the article was on the Farm Collector Magazine website.
Later Litter Carrier

Page 2 of the article
Later Litter Carrier

Page 3 of the article
Later Litter Carrier

Farm Collector Magazine website --

Whether a barn was of conventional design or not, if it was built after 1867 chances were good that it included at least one feature from the Louden Machinery Co., Fairfield, Iowa.  Specializing in barn and stable equipment, Louden was a primary supplier of hay tools; barn and garage door hangers; dairy barn equipment; litter, feed and milk can carriers; cupolas, ventilators and drains.

As these illustrations from the 1920 Louden catalog show, the company developed a full science of design and outfitting.  In fact, Louden employed an architectural department that offered, at no charge, advice in all phases of farm building and agricultural engineering; blueprints, floor plans and cross-sectional views; and personal visits from Louden field representatives.

For collectors of hay tools such as hay trolleys (carriers), slings and forks, Louden catalogs (known among collectors as Louden barn books) provide a wealth of information.  For those interested in farms of the past, the books are packed with black-and-white photos of handsome American farmsteads (all of which, coincidentally, are Louden installations).

While the photos are not necessarily representative of the typical farm (many show large and elaborate layouts), they do give interesting insights into farm practices of another era.  The 1920 edition, for instance, shows piles of alfalfa curing in the field, each topped with a large white cloth or tarp presumably designed to shed water.  Photos on another page show an ice harvesting operation (using a Louden hoist).

Historic barns are a fascinating counterpoint to the story of farm mechanization, and the Louden company is a major component of that.

Read more:, then search for "Louden"


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