Check-row planting was a tricky technique
This description from a 1933 McCormick-Deering corn planter operator's manual shows how difficult running a check-row planter could be.
The check-wire reel on this model was carried beneath the seat.
Planting corn with a check-row planter wasn't simple. The following was taken from a 1933 McCormick-Deering No. 102 corn planter operator's manual and shows just how tricky the procedure could be.
Laying out the Wire
Reel can be used on either side of planter. In laying out wire, drive Planter to edge of field and place in position to drive across field where the first two rows are to be planted. Take wire from underside and directly off of reel. Hook wire on anchor stake, leaving a few extra links back of hook, then set anchor stake to the rear of Planter near fence and about twice the distance between rows out of line with center of Planter toward near edge of field.
Throw reel foot pedal forward and rest foot on it lightly so as to give a slight pressure on friction wheel of reel. Now drive carefully straight across field so that wheel marks can be used for a guide on the return when planting first two rows. Having driven to far end of field, detach reeling attachment and turn Planter in position for planting first two rows, driving Planter far enough in field to allow for about four links of wire between back of Planter and fence. Now remove enough wire from reel to reach to end of field, allowing a few extra links, hook on anchor stake, drawing wire fairly tight, set stake in rear of center of Planter near fence. In setting stake, see that wire is of proper tension when stake is shoved into the ground.
Starting to Plant
Disconnect marker from support and lower on side toward field, taking care that it is adjusted properly to conform with width of Planter.
Now place wire in fork and see that fork prongs have the proper adjustment. Close up pulley holder, set lever so as to allow runners to go into ground the proper depth and drive a steady gait to opposite end of field, using wheel marks as a guide.