Farm Collector

Galloway Manure Spreader Survives the Passage of Time

Manure management on any livestock farm is a hard, smelly,
unpleasant but very necessary business. The domesticated dung
really piles up when animals are confined for any length of time,
and removing it is a never-ending chore. Before the age of
skid-loaders and automated scraping systems, or even self-flushing
gutters, our ancestors were faced with shoveling or forking dung
into small baskets, which were carried to the field and dumped.
Baskets gave way to small carts, which eventually gave way to
wagons, which eventually gave way to the dedicated manure spreader wagons
still in use today. As anyone who has handled the stuff knows, the
caustic nature of that dank detritus tends to shorten the life span
of manure-handling equipment to relatively few years.

That the Pasto Ag Museum’s 85-year-old Galloway wagon-box
attachment spreader and matched running gear survived at all is
pretty amazing. That it survived in such beautiful original
condition is virtually a miracle. Tools associated with manure
handling didn’t often receive the necessary cleaning and care other
implements did, even though they really needed it more.

“The spreader was purchased new in 1920,” explains Pasto Ag
Museum Curator Dr. Darwin G. Braund as he points out a small patch
of at least 65-year-old cow manure on its end gate. “It was in
steady use until the early 1940s when it was put in a barn while
the boys were off to war.” After the war, the old spreader was
replaced with a more modern version — but the Galloway was left
under cover.

The 50- to 60-bushel Galloway spreader was manufactured in
Waterloo, Iowa, and sold complete in 1920 for $76.50. It featured a
removable spreader box that was easily lifted off the running gear
so it could be used for other things. The spreader mechanism was
powered from the rear wheels through chains that were driven by
iron cogs U-bolted to the wheels’ spokes. The right wheel drove the
conveyer chain that moved manure to the rear of the wagon. The left
wheel powered the beater, which required a bit more energy, so it
was equipped with removable lug clamps to keep it from slipping.
When the running gear was used for other, less-sloppy kinds of
work, the clamps were removed.

The museum’s Galloway spreader was completely disassembled and
carefully cleaned in December 1999 by Braund and Joe Shafranich,
and the parts were oiled as the implement was reassembled. The
original green paint and white stenciling on the box, and red paint
on the running gear, are all in excellent condition. Although the
spreader is completely functional, Braund doesn’t expect it to
serve in its original capacity ever again. “There’s no reason it
won’t still be here in another 85 years,” he says with a smile. FC

  • Published on Mar 1, 2005
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