AMERICAN FARM TOOLS

BOOK REVIEW

Hand power to Steam Power

From Hand power to Steam Power

Content Tools

Fact Book on Farm Power

Did you know that...

...Until the 1850's, American farmers planted corn by hand, the way the Indians had taught them?

...Peter Gaillard, of Lancaster, Pa., opened a new age for haying technology when he patented a horse-drawn machine for mowing grass in 1812?

...As the 20th Century opened, more than 5,000 steam traction engines were being manufactured in the U.S. each year?

If you know all that, or do not, there's far more you can learn in a new book called American Farm Tools...from Hand-Power to Steam-Power, by R. Douglas Hurt, Ohio farm historian.

The book has a photo of a huge Minneapolis engine in full steam on its cover. The scene is dated 1909 in North Dakota. While only the concluding chapter is devoted to steam traction engines as power sources, the entire book should appeal to any person interested in all kinds of farm implements.

Chapter headings give you an idea of the well-researched contents:

The Plowman's Tools...Seed Time...Weeding the Crop...The Grain Harvesters...The Corn Harvesters...Threshing Time...The Combines. ..Making Hay & Fodder...Steam Power...Metallurgy and Technological Change in American Agriculture.

Author Hurt holds a Ph.D. degree in American history, and specializes in farm history. He has written extensively. He is Curator of History at the Ohio Historical Society, and has obviously obtained a vast amount of knowledge. He assembles this and puts it forth very ably.

The book, originally in the January 1982 issue of Journal of the West, is published by Sunflower University Press at Manhattan, Kan.

Hundreds of illustrations fit in with the informative text. You can see a drawing of Jethro Wood's 1814 plow; a Marsh harvester at work; a horse-drawn Buckeye folding binder with bundle carrier, and many photos of traction engines.

The Steam Power chapter traces use of steam in the U.S. back to Oliver Evans at Philadelphia in 1807-8 into the time when steam traction engines were being phased out of use in the 1920's. Case, Huber and Buffalo Pitts are among the engines shown.

The 120 pages include a bibliography and index.