It's an amazing machine. I'm cutting and pasting this diagram from Wikipedia. Click on the image to make it bigger/clearer.
To give you an idea of how efficient these things are, our combine - a 35 year old John Deere 6620 - can produce (that is take in rough dry stalks and give you clean kernels of corn) about 15,000 lbs in an hour. Try doing that by hand.
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