The Mighty Hoosier Grain Drill

19th-century poster features horse-drawn grain drill manufatured by Hoosier.

| May 2015

This high-quality poster was produced from an image of a chromolithograph dating to about 1890. The poster, which was lithographed onto celluloid rather than paper, shows a Hoosier grain drill issued by the Hoosier Grain Drill Co., Richmond, Indiana. The image shows a farmer adjusting the bridle on a horse pulling a Hoosier drill through a field of recently shocked corn. In the background are a home and farm building. Note that this a disc grain drill, with disc openers and drag chains to cover the seeds. The drill also has an attached cast iron seat, allowing the farmer to ride in comfort.

 John M. Westcott started Hoosier Drill Co. in Milton, Indiana, in 1858 and incorporated it in 1873. The company transferred its operation to Richmond, Indiana, in 1878, manufacturing the Hoosier wheat drill and the Campbell corn drill.

Eventually, the company’s line consisted of hoe, disk, shoe and press drills and broadcast seeders. At least in 1899, it claimed to be the largest factory in the world devoted entirely to the manufacture of seeding machines. In 1903, Hoosier merged with others to form American Seeding Machine Co. with headquarters in Springfield, Ohio. The other companies involved in the merger were: Superior Drill Co., Springfield, Ohio; Empire Drill Co., Shortsville, New York; Brennan & Co., Louisville, Kentucky; and Bickford & Huffman Co., Macedon, New York. In 1920, American Seeding Machine Co. sold its Richmond plant to International Harvester Co. FC

Grateful acknowledgement is given to David Schnakenberg, who contributed this image from his collection of pre-1910 chromolithographs of farm machinery advertising. For more information, contact him at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606;; view the Schnakenberg Collection.

To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email: