When you visit a tall building, you might use the elevator. You get on at the ground floor, the elevator car lifts you to the correct floor, and you get off. Grain legs are elevators used to lift grain up and into grain bins.
When harvested grain is brought to the farm, it is first dumped into underground pits near the bins. The bottom of the grain leg is in the pit. The top is high above the grain bins.
Inside the grain leg, dozens of rectangular buckets are connected to a loop, or belt, made of rubber, pvc, or steel chains. When the grain leg is turned on, the buckets begin scooping grain out of the pit. The buckets work like elevator cars to carry grain to the top of the leg.
At the top of the grain leg, each bucket tips grain into a pipe connected to a grain bin. The empty buckets travel back down the leg, scoop up more grain, move back to the top, tip, and travel back down in a continuous loop. This process is why grain storage facilities are often called “elevators.”