Chemical-Free Weed Control: Cable Weeder Did the Job in the 1930s
Patented in the 1930s, a Simpson cable weeder turns up in Canada 70 years later
Weeder patented by Melvin M. Simpson, Sidney, Neb., July 19, 1938: "This invention relates to a weeder and has for its principal object, the provision of a highly efficient weeding machine which, when drawn over plowed or cultivated land, will engage and pull the weeds out by the roots and leave them uprooted on the surface to dry out."
Side view of the weeder on display at the Little Village Farm museum. Because the cable drum rotates at a slower speed than the machine travels, each cable is caused to descend into the ground and drag below the surface with a rake-like action, causing roots to wrap around the cable.
Deteriorated wood boxing on the weeder drum was replaced. Note the multitude of holes available for cables.
The weeder's drive arrangement. Note two different types of chain. The implement has no clutch to take it out of gear.
Detail of nuts used to tension cables. Even after more than 70 years, the cables remain tight and have no rust, indicating use of copper in the steel.
Ken Frank loading a large breaking plow on the author's trailer.
The weeder's tail wheel. Holes in the bracket may have allowed installation of a seat. Springs allowed flexing on each side on uneven terrain.