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Farming Tools and How They Made America Great

Updated on July 5, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

Vintage breaking plow to break up  the new ground.
Vintage breaking plow to break up the new ground. | Source
Hay rake at Fordmouth. This is  considered antique farm machinery.
Hay rake at Fordmouth. This is considered antique farm machinery. | Source

No Farm Anywhere Could Start

by a farmer in America (after World War II) just by snapping his fingers. He knew that with the manual labor that was required, he would also have to depend on dependable, sufficient tools in order for his farms to be successful.

It did not take long to realize that farmers could not prosper (just) by using make-shift shovels and hoes to carve out a field to grow grain, the time of preparation for plowing, sowing, and eventually harvesting the fields took too long and the tools were always breaking or could not be repaired.

So with a little common sense and machinery ingenuity, farming equipment was born and what a great day that was. Farming became easier and farmers started plowing more fields and harvesting more crops as their families prospered by the monies they received by selling their goods in the marketplace.


Classic tractors

at Mansells farm, Codicote, Hertfordshire, Great Britain, but a lot of these tractors were used in America when farming began to grow and prosper.

The Breaking Plow started it all (farming, of course) -- young farmers with a few sharp engineers designed a breaking plow where the blade was angled to the right with a sharp point to stay running in the ground as the mule pulled it to make the young farmer proud of his corn or cotton field. Men, (no sexist remarks intended) had to be men strong and determined as an ox to make a go of their newly-occupied patch of land. In laymen's terms, the man holding the handles of the plow must learn to keep the point of the plow always covered in the dirt ahead.

Middle-Buster -- these hard-working farmers used (a) monster-of-a-plow named, the middle buster. And the middle buster quickly took to the bursting part of this tool for that was all it did. Burst--middles of each row plus any young plants or roots that happen to be growing. The middle buster plow was the heaviest of agricultural farming tools when preparing fields for planting and if you were prosperous enough to own a middle buster, you were really "uptow," as early farmers used to say. And yes, any farmer who thought it a breeze to master a bull tongue plow, a breaking plow or scratcher had another thing coming. This was work. Day in. Day out.

The Bull Tongue Plow -- was the Bull tongue plow which was a one-horse single-shovel point. This plow was primarily used to loosen the soil around corn and cotton stalks and all without harming the precious farming products. A pretty nifty and efficient tool in any estimation. Farmers quickly swore by the breaking plow and bull tongue plow and compared to farmers who did not use this type of plow, anyone could see the difference in the two fields of produce.

The Hay Cutter -- was one of earliest form farming tools for it was popular almost upon other farmers watching it work. Time was, a farmer who grew hay had to somehow cut the hay and this was a very hard and tedious job. Some farmers even resorted to cutting their hay with a sharp-edged hoe or if they owned a sling blade, this tool was incorporated into their hayfields.

The Hay Rake -- tool (pulled by horse power) said it all for this piece of equipment only raked up hay that was cut into neat rows and then the farmer either alone or with his family took a day or two to roll up or bale the hay for storage in the barn for food for the livestock. These tools, although very important, were not even aware by the farmer or his family were helping to build bigger steps in a progressive farmland in America.

A Sling Blade -- was used by the farmer to rid his barnyard or even in his fields of weeds that popped up and choked out what good produce he was growing. Farmers had to have a little rhythm in the slinging of the blade to do a proper job. He would take this tool in one hand and swing it at the weeds and in one motion, handed it off to his other hand and repeating the cycle until the weeds were history.

Ditch Bank Blade - - was very useful in keeping the farmer's ditches (that were cut near his home and barn to keep rainwater from pooling up) clear of tree roots and vines. A farmer in this day and time had to be able to perform many tasks besides planting and harvesting. These were only a few samples of the things early farmers used to keep their farms successful.

As Farming Became More Progressive

the mule-drawn tools slowly took their place to a mechanized farming system. The fossil fuel-burning tractor was head and shoulders when it came to allowing a farmer to get his farming chores planned, planted and back home in a matter of days, not weeks.

You will find (in this hub), a short list of early farming tractors that today, along with the farming tools, are sought after by antique collectors for savoring and placing in museums. Today, younger generations of Americans are just now learning how useful that these early farming tools along with the tractor was in helping America into being the farming power that it is today.

© 2017 Kenneth Avery


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