BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS
Horsedrawn Tillage Tools
New book useful as guide to farming with horsedrawn equipment and collecting
Horsedrawn Tillage Tools is the third book in Lynn Miller's series dealing with horse drawn farm equipment. Book one was entitled Horsedrawn Plows and Plowing, and the second was Haying with Horses. The author's intent in this third book is, first, to encourage current day horse farming, and, second, to provide a reference to the large variety of tillage tools available both today and in the past. He succeeds on both counts.
In his statements regarding current day horse farming, Mr. Miller is writing directly to the many small farmers of today who simply prefer this form of farming. There are more of these farmers than one might expect to find. (In fact, I know someone who farms in this manner.) Teams of Belgians, Percherons, Clydesdales, or Haflingers are recognized by all and seeing them at work is a magnificent sight, but the author puts forth some good arguments for using horses in farming even today. Many will disagree with his points, but you may find that you are less likely to dismiss the practice out of hand after reading his impassioned and intelligent arguments.
Regardless of whether you intend to use the information or not, you simply can't quibble with Mr. Miller's attention to detail. He explores every aspect of the practice, from different equipment to farming techniques.
Collectors of farm tools will most likely find the second part of this book the most interesting and useful. Included are hundreds of horse drawn tillage tools, cultipackers, listers, weeders, stalk cutters, cultivators, rollers, harrows, and more. Some are by well-known manufacturers of today such as John Deere, AGCO, and others, but many are from little known and long since defunct manufacturers. All illustrations (and there are too many to count) are accompanied with information about the tool itself.
The encyclopedic approach to listing and illustrating the many varieties of horsedrawn tillage tools makes the book valuable to users and collectors alike. In fact, many readers may discover something that they perhaps did not know - that horsedrawn farm equipment is still being manufactured today. It is certainly not made on the same scale as tractor drawn equipment, but is still produced for those who need and use it.
Restorers and collectors will find themselves wishing that the text was more useful to them in determining original colors of the old equipment, and, of course, it would have been wonderful to have had more color illustrations. But color illustrations of early equipment are not easy to find and this book is truly aimed at those who are concerned most with using the equipment, not with making it look pretty.
This book is well researched and heavily illustrated and belongs in every serious horsedrawn equipment collector's library. It's clearly a must-have asset to the current user of horse drawn tools. I would highly recommend it to all who are interested in America's agricultural history.