The silo was introduced into this country in 1873 when Fred Hatch, of Spring Grove, Illinois built the first vertical wood silo. (International Silo Association), but silos date back to Greece in the 8th Century B.C. The name silo came from the Greek for “pit to hold grain”. Our first silos in the late 1800s, as mentioned above, were wood and rectangular in shape and maybe twenty foot tall. The wood frame was sometime covered with vertical or horizontal siding. Some farmers even lined the interior with tongue-and-grove siding. In 1910 cement stave silos became popular, with the staves being held together with metal hoops. Tile blocks were also used, and eventually poured concrete became the preferred. After World War II, the Harvestore Silo manufactured by A.O. Smith became the popular silo. Today the silage bag type of silos are becoming popular, but vertical silos are still prominent. (Rural Architecture of the Empire State, by Cynthia G. Falk, Cornell University Press 2012)
I recently found the following news article that concerned a local controversy over their use in the 1930s. “The silo has been the victim of many “whispering campaigns” and many of this whispering has been featured in the advertising put out by firms selling some forms of rival equipment. The leading charges brought against the silo have been: First, that the acids present in silage are harmful to the cows eating the silage, causing acidosis and other troubles; Second, that the silo is wasteful, because food material is lost by fermentation or otherwise.
The first of these charges has recently been thoroughly studied at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station. According to A.E. Perkins, associate in dairying, definite evidence is available to show that silage acids are entirely harmless to the cow. Work available from other experiment stations shows that the average loss from field curing and the storage of corn outside the silo is probably greater than the average loss in the silo. In the opinion of Mr. Perkins, the silo is decidedly not a bad idea, in spite of its detractors, it has been steadily growing in favor as the best means of handling the corn crop on the dairy farm. Recently, it is coming to be realized that the silo is also a convenient and practical means of handling other crops. (Wellington Enterprise 1932)