Old Plow Display Panorama
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Restored plow is Classic farm icon
Long a popular collectible, the horse-drawn plow is matched only by the windmill as an enduring icon of farm country. But don’t get wrapped up in trying to authenticate Americana like this piece located in the Image Gallery.
Plows can be hard to date, as many remained in production for decades. The Oliver No. 40, for instance, was manufactured from the late 1800s to the 1950s.
A wood beam does not necessarily help date the plow. Most plow manufacturers built models with wood beam and steel beam throughout their production runs. Often the beam material was simply a matter of personal preference.
The same can be said of left-hand and right-hand plows. Although both enjoyed wide use throughout the U.S., left-hand plows were often used east of the Mississippi and right-hand plows were more common west of the Mississippi. As a general rule, there is no particular rarity associated with either left-hand or right-hand plows: Most manufacturers produced plows in both versions.
What color should you paint your plow? Few color illustrations of plows exist. Disassemble the plow and look for traces of color in a protected area, such as the point where the beam attaches to the frog. Plows were most often painted in one color. Some manufacturers varnished plow handles and beams; others painted them.
— From Horse Drawn Plows, compiled by Alan C. King, 1999
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