Just tooling around...
Fallen Apple Harvesting Machines
Apple cart quickly picks up fallen apples for cider making
When I was a teenager, I made a little pocket money each year working in an orchard picking up apples to be made into cider. All the apples that had fallen to the ground were scooped into small crates, loaded onto a wagon, and hauled to the cider machine. Leaning over for hours on end was pretty rough on our backs.
When I first saw these apple picker-uppers, I thought that poking spikes into all those apples was silly. Then I remembered how cider is made, and realized that it probably doesn't really hurt anything.
Apples for cider are ground up, squeezed, and filtered. Cider does have some bacteria from the apple skins in it, but the immune system of most adults can easily handle that bacteria. For the very young, very old, and those with chronic illness, it is recommended that they only drink pasteurized cider, like is sold at the grocery store.
Thanks for reading! by Greg Baka
1 minute Video showing the basic concept. The apples stick to the spiked drum and are combed off the spikes when they reach the top. Then they roll down the "comb" into baskets.
We do not know of anyone selling these in the US.
Near the end of the short video above, they show that the spiked drums can move independently of the wheels. This feature allows the cart to roll over roots or lumps in the ground without lifting the spikes too high to grab the fallen apples. My guess is that this model's spiked drums are on some sort of pivoting axle and that the drums are rotated only by their contact with the ground.
The apple carts in the 1 minute video are from a company called Obstsammler in Austria. Here is a link to the english version of the Obstsammler website, and they do have a page with a contact form.
The next 3 large pictures, and the 6 minute video after them, show an apple harvester from a different company. Their drum uses wooden slats to hold the spikes. The drum and wheels all run on the same long axle. This one has decent potential to be built at home from bicycle parts. Using large diameter bike wheels on the ends, and wood slats attached smaller diameter rims in the middle would simplify the construction. The website for this company appears to no longer be active.
The next two videos below are of a home-made fruit picker upper, and a small commercial model that is no longer being made.
We do not know of anyone selling apple picker-uppers in the US.
How cider is made ...the grinding and squeezing operations shown here are similar to a full-sized commercial machine. It helps show why a few stab holes in the apples really don't matter for cider making.