Farm Equipment

These machines are on display outside the museum building. They are listed here starting with the machine closest to the museum entrance and in the order of display along the fence. If you are viewing this on-line, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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Walking Plow

The walking plow was the basic horse-drawn plow used for many years. It was used to break sod and turn the soil over, action known as primary tillage. Plows with a moldboard that lift and turn the soil over probably date back to the third century BC. After completing primary tillage, other implements are used for secondary tillage to finish preparing the soil for planting. A walking plow was typically pulled by a single horse or mule.

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Sulky Plow

The sulky plow performs the same basic operation as the walking plow. It has a single bottom similar to the walking plow. Since it was built with wheels and levers to adjust it's operation and is pulled by a team of animals, it is much easier to operate and can plow much more land in a day than can be plowed with a walking plow. Similar plows with more than one bottom, known as gang plows, were also available for use on very large farms. This plow was built by Deere and Company of Moline, Illinois.

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Walking Middlebreaker

The walking middlebreaker does primary tillage, similar to that of the moldboard plow. It was used in fields where a crop, such as cotton, was grown in a raised bed or ridge. The middlebreaker could be used to burst open the old ridge from a previous crop or form a new row for planting. A walking middlebreaker was typically pulled by a single horse or mule.

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Peg-Tooth Harrow

The peg-tooth harrow, also called a spike-tooth harrow, is a secondary tillage implement. Several implements are used after a field is plowed to finish preparing the soil for planting. Various implements will turn, chop or pulverize the soil and organic material into smaller pieces. A peg-tooth harrow will uproot small weeds and smooth the soil, to help eliminate a rough surface left by more aggressive tillage implements. Typically, two or more sections of a harrow, like the single one on display here, are used side-by-side to cover large areas more quickly.

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One-Horse Cultivator

This cultivator was used to remove weeds from between the rows of growing crops. A single horse or mule would pull this while the farmer walked behind and guided it between two rows.

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Riding Weeder

A weeder, sometimes called a weeder-mulcher, is used to remove small weeds and break up the crust that can form on top of the soil after the crop has established itself. This tool is used after the crop has started to grow but while the plants are still fairly small. Most weeds, which at this stage are even smaller than the crop plants, will be removed by the weeder. The weeder in this display is incomplete, with only the soil working part of the machine on display.

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Revolving Scraper

A revolving scraper is an implement that can be used to dig soil and move it from one place to another. It might have been used to level a field, dig a farm pond or to improve drainage ditches. This implement was pulled by a tractor. It was built by Killefer Manufacturing Corporation of Los Angeles, California.

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Fresno Scraper

The Fresno scraper is a horse-drawn implement that can be used to move soil, doing the same jobs that can be done with the revolving scraper. It is a much earlier machine than the revolving scraper. This implement is an improved version of an even older machine, called the slip scraper. The name "Fresno" is derived from the "Fresno Agricultural Works", a company that produced many of these scrapers.

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A lister is a planter for row-crops such as cotton or corn. It is adapted for regions with little rainfall. The plow-like bottom makes a deep furrow and the seed is placed in the middle of the furrow. Cultivation gradually adds more soil to the row. This places the roots deeper in the ground where moisture is more plentiful. It was built by the B.F. Avery & Sons Company of Louisville, Kentucky.

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One-Horse Planter

A one-horse planter was used to plant row-crops such as cotton or corn. It can be used to plant the crop "on the flat". It can also be used to plant in a furrow that was previously made using a middlebreaker plow.

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Grain Drill

A grain drill is used to plant small grain and grass crops. These types of crops are usually broadcast seeded (no rows) or planted in rows that are very close together. This drill can add fertilizer to the field at the same time it plants the seed. Most of the machines in this display are pulled by horses or mules. This grain drill was built to be pulled by a tractor. As displayed, one side of this drill has the disk openers in the ground in the operating position. The other side has the openers in the raised transport position.

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Mowing Machine

A mowing machine was used to cut grass crops so they can be gathered for animal feed. This machine requires two horses. It was built between 1914 and 1934 by International Harvester Company of Chicago, Illinois.

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Dump Rake

A rake did the first step to gather grass crops after they were cut. This machine gathered the grass as it was pulled across the field by one or two horses. When the tines in the back were full, the farmer raised them, dumping the grass in one place. If the farmer was careful, he could dump the piles in rows that made it easier to finish gathering the crop. This rake was built by International Harvester Company of Chicago, Illinois.

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Corn Binder

The corn binder is a piece of harvesting equipment that was once used on many farms. It was used to cut corn stalks off near the ground, gather it into bundles that were dropped on the ground for later gathering. In some parts of the country, they were used to harvest sugar cane. They were pulled by a team of horses. In later years, tractors were used in place of the horse team. The first corn binders were made in about 1890. By the 1930s, these machines started to be replaced by field harvesters that would cut the crop, chop it and deliver it directly into a wagon in a single operation. The last corn binders were built in the 1950s. This binder was built by Deere and Company of Moline, Illinois.



Early farm tractors were used as simple pulling machines, direct replacements for horses and mules. In the 1920's, tractor companies began to produce tractors that allowed equipment to be directly mounted on the tractors. This tractor, a 1939 Allis Chalmers model B, came to the museum with direct mounted middle breaker and cultivator. These direct mounted machines replaced older equipment similar to machines 4 and 6 in this display.

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