“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Luray in Page County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Farm Machinery From The Past

Farm Machinery From The Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 26, 2016
1. Farm Machinery From The Past Marker
Inscription. During the 1800's farmer’s took everything from a from a simple hoe to a thresher “snorting black smoke” into the fields in pursuit of better harvest.

Machines were run by hand, by oxen or horses, and finally by steam engines. The machinery you see in front of you are pieces that were used in days gone by.

Thomas Jefferson worked out very elaborately the proper curves for a moldboard, however, Jefferson was interested in too many things other than inventing to keep working on his moldboard and plow designs.

The first real inventor of a practical plow was Charles Newbold, of Burlington County, New Jersey, who received a patent for a cast iron plow in June, 1797. However, early American farmers mistrusted the plow. They said it “poisoned the soil” and fostered the growth of weeds. David Peacock received a plow patent in 1807, and two others later. Charles Newbold sued Peacock for patent infringement and recovered damages - the first patent infringement case involving a plow.

Another plow inventor was Jethro Wood, a blacksmith from Scipio, New York, who received two patents, one in 1814 and the other in 1819. His plow was cast iron, made in three parts, so that a broken part could be replaced without purchasing a new plow. This principle of standardization
Farm Machinery From The Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 26, 2016
2. Farm Machinery From The Past Marker
marked a great advance. The farmers by this time were forgetting their former prejudices, and were enticed to buy plows. Though Wood's original patent was extended, patent infringements were frequent, and he is said to have spent his entire fortune in prosecuting them.

Skilled blacksmith, William Parlin, of Canton, Illinois, began making plows about 1842, and travelled by wagon around the country selling them.

Hay Dump Rake
The typical early horse drawn hay rake was a dump rake, a wide two-wheeled implement with curved steel or iron teeth usually operated from a seat mounted over the rake with a lever operated lifting mechanism. This rake gathered hay cut into windrows by repeated operation perpendicular to the windrow, it required the operator to raise the rake, turn around and drop the teeth to rake back and forth in order to form a windrow. In some areas, a sweep rake, which could also be a horse-drawn or tractor-mounted implement, could then be used to pick up the windrowed hay and load it onto a wagon.

Corn Planter
The first planter design in 1877 was a horse-drawn two row planter. Horse-drawn planters of that era used a sled-style marker to create a grid on the field. The grid ensured uniform rows, which made cross-cultivation easier, keeping the field weed free. Two people (often a farmer and his son) operated the planter.
Farm Machinery From The Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 26, 2016
3. Farm Machinery From The Past Marker
Parallel lines were etched into the soil on the first pass; lines were then etched at right angles on the second pass.

Corn Stalk Cutter
The cutter was pulled by one horse and cut two rows of corn at a time. The two knives would be folded down to cut the stalks (typically two to four stalks) in each hill. Two men sat or stood on top of the cutter and, as the horse moved forward, each gathered the stalks from the row on his side of the cutter.

Seed Drill
The seed drill allows farmers to sow seeds in well spaced rows at specific depths at a specific seed rate; each tube creates a hold of a specific depth, drops in one or more seeds, and covers it over. This invention gave farmers much greater control over the depth that the seed was planted and the ability to cover the seeds without back tracking. This greater control meant that seeds germinated consistently and in good soil. The result was an increased rate of germination, and a much improved crop yield (up to eight times).

A seed drill can be pulled across the field using horses. Seeds sown using a seed drill are distributed evenly and placed at the correct depth in the soil.

Corn Cultivator
Cultivators fabricated by I&J Manufacturing, LLC in Gap, Pennsylvania are built for a long life in the field or garden with minimum maintenance. A
Farm Machinery From The Past image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 26, 2016
4. Farm Machinery From The Past
Walk-Behind Horse Drawn Cultivator is perfect for a small horse or pony and will work well in the garden. Horse Drawn "Riding" Cultivators have a cushioned driver’s seat and pedal functions for movement among growing plants.

Gang Plow
“There was what they called a gang plow. You had two bottoms on that, and you had three wheels on that, and then you had a seat on that. And you put four horses on that. Then you had a trip on it where you pushed with your foot. And then you had to raise it out (of the soil) on the end (of a row). And then you had two handles on that - some of them had three - and then you could adjust how deep you wanted to go." Dean Buller

Hay Tedder
The tedder is a farm tool on two wheels pulled by a horse; the rotation of the axle drives a gear which operates a “number of arms with wire tines or fingers at the lower end." The tines that pick up the hay can be adjusted.

In an early simple hay tedder described in 1852 and manufactured in Edinburgh by the company of Mr. Slight, the two wheels, via a spur wheel and a pinion, drives a set of light wheels, the “rake wheels”; on these two rake wheels are mounted eight rakes, which pick up and disperse the hay. A later “English hay-tedder” uses two separate cylinders with rotating forks that can be reversed to lay the hay down lightly for improved exposure to air.

Sickle Hay Mower
One of the most labor intensive chores a farmer faced was the harvest and storage of hay. It was hard, hot and dusty work. Mowers were the first step toward making that job less brutal and more productive.

Peter Gaillard, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is credited with conceiving the idea of mowing grass with horse power in 1812. Jeremiah Bailey of Chester County, Pennsylvania, patented a mower in February 1822. It was supported by two wheels on different axles and was said to be capable of mowing 10 acres per day.
Erected by John R. and Bernice A. Mrotek.
Location. 38° 39.574′ N, 78° 27.714′ W. Marker is in Luray, Virginia, in Page County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Linden Avenue and Virginia Avenue (Business U.S. 340), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Located along the Luray Hawksbill Greenway. Marker is in this post office area: Luray VA 22835, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Slave Auction Block (approx. 0.3 miles away); Massanutten School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Willow Grove Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); White House Ferry (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Chapman-Ruffner House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cavalry Engagement (approx. 0.8 miles away); Confederate Heroes Monument (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Luray.
Also see . . .  Luray Hawksbill Greenway. (Submitted on December 28, 2016.)
Categories. Agriculture
Credits. This page was last revised on December 28, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 28, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 347 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 28, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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