Collection Showcases Handmade Implements and Farm Tools
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“You just put it under the axle, jack it up, and lock it into position,” he says. “The wagons were of different heights, and you can adjust it.”
Before the advent of electricity in the 1920s, gasoline engines were the main source of power on the farm.
“There were two kinds of power: muscle power and engine power,” says Buck, who has more than 250 gasoline engines in his collection. “You had three or four engines around the farm. They were used to pump water, to run the milking machines, to grind corn, to grind apples for cider, to run corn shellers. And there was always one on wheels to move around.”
And if you didn’t have an engine handy, you could always use your Model T Ford as a power source. Buck has a handmade wooden belt pulley the size and circumference of an automobile wheel that was used as part of an alternative power source.
“This fits on the rear wheel,” he says. “The hub goes through the hole, and the J-bolts fit over the spokes. Jack up the car, and you’ve got belt power to grind corn or whatever. You turn on the engine and let it go. It’s made of layers of boards, the same as the hogsheads on the tobacco barrels.”
The blacksmith, Buck says, was an important person in every small town. Farmers often designed and made their own tools and implements, with the smith doing any needed ironwork.
“A fellow would make something, and people would like it, and the next thing was, he had a little factory,” he says. “People made stuff in little shops like you would make it in your basement today. They also made parts for things that broke.”
Buck likes to show off a wood-and-metal frame he designed and made for use on his father’s farm. It holds a sack open at the top while grain is shoveled in.
“You can’t shovel into a sack and hold it open at the same time,” he says. “This takes care of that.”
One factory-made item in the collection was modified by a creative farmer. It is an implement made of iron that cuts potatoes into sections for planting. It’s mounted on a handmade wooden frame with a sloping board underneath, so the pieces fall into a container on the floor.
And then there’s the gigging light. While not strictly a farm implement, it was used to aid in providing food for the farm family. Gigging, which is now illegal in Maryland, is a means of catching fish at night.