A History of Corn: Hand-held Corn Planters and Checkrows
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Other planter inventors devised, with varying success, wheel-driven contraptions to drop the corn seeds at regular intervals, even though wheel slippage on loose or soft ground was always a problem. In 1864, George W. Brown introduced a planter with a second seat between the seed boxes where a small boy could sit. Checkrow lines were made with a marking sled in one direction only, and the planter was driven at right angles to these lines. The boy was responsible for pushing a lever whenever the planting shoes crossed one of these lines, which dropped the seeds. The method was very accurate, depending upon how carefully the marked lines were laid out, as well as the dropper boy's attention to detail.
After decades of experimentation, the well-known knotted-wire, two-row checkrow planter was introduced and remained a favorite throughout the Corn Belt until about 1950. As always, innovations led to bigger, more-successful harvests and further ensured that corn remained an American staple. FC
Sam Moore grew up on a farm in western Pennsylvania. He now lives in Salem, Ohio, and collects antique tractors, implements and related items.
Back to part one: Beginnings and Tall Tales of Farming Corn in America or on to part three: Advances in Planting Technology
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