How was it done in the old days?

In the past one was dependent of the sun. Only the sun made the cones pop open. The open air drying of great quantities of these cones in a heap was called ‘pleinen’ (from the French ‘en plein air’).
About March the sun was already warm enough to open most cones and the seed could be scooped up. There also was a so-called ‘bird watch’, for the pine seeds had a great attraction to seed eating birds like the greenfinch.

In 1928 a barn (photo 1) was equipped especially for the drying of the cones. The seed kiln consisted of 60 riddles (photo 2) and 2 coke stoves (photo 4). These riddles were stacked and 2 coke stoves provided a hot air stream (49 °C). After 3 days of constant temperature the cones popped open. Now the seeds could be sieved out. This was done by 2 men. With a sieve (photo 5), filled with cones, horizontal and up and down movements were made. The seeds fell through the sieve to the ground, was scooped up and cleaned.
In 1950 this new seed kiln was built (photo 6).
All buildings have meanwhile disappeared

The barn. Riddle. Stacked riddles.
Coke stove. Sieve. New seed kiln.