In the first decade of Lyon County's settlement, fuel was scarce and high priced, but "necessity, the mother of invention," soon found a remedy, provided by nature.  Slough grass was cut and cured and used as fuel.  Instead of drawing green wood many miles from the streams to the prairie homestead, grass was cut and stacked near the house for this purpose.  It was ascertained that one ton of such hay would furnish about as much heat as a ton of soft coal and cost nothing but the little labor of cutting and stacking.  The good housewife, however, did not like it, as half her time was consumed in feeding the stove with twisted wisps of it.  Then came a patent device, by which hay ropes could be quickly twisted from the stack and there tied into knots, were easily handles.  The machines sold at $5.00 and were made at Iowa Falls, by the patentee, C.A. Dowd.

The steam flouring mills at Worthington, Minnesota, used hay for fuel, beneath their boilers for a half dozen years.


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