Revisiting the Tongue Truck


| 6/29/2017 11:26:00 AM


Tags: Looking Back, Sam Moore,

Sam MooreI wonder how many of today’s farmers, if asked whether they knew what a tongue truck was, would answer yes. In the days of real horse power these farm implement accessories were common on most farms.

Tongue trucks were often used, not only with horse-drawn mowers and grain binders, but with disc harrows, corn planters, corn binders, potato diggers and even dump rakes. Most two-wheeled, horse-drawn machines are designed with the seat sticking out behind the axle, thus allowing the operator’s weight and the law of leverage to help offset the weight of the implement on the horse’s shoulders. Tongue trucks are also used to lessen this weight on the horses, but they have other important benefits as well.

Many of these implements require a specific and constant position in relation to the ground in order to do their best work. Once the machine is adjusted properly, a tongue truck that supports the front of the machine, maintains this critical operating position without regard to the natural movement of the team. A tongue truck also eliminates the variations in implement operating position caused by different sized teams, while the length of the traces, as well as the adjustment of the breast straps, can best be made to suit the load, without worrying about any effect on the implement’s optimum operating position.

On some implements with stiff poles, particularly those with considerable side draft, such as corn and grain binders and mowing machines, the use of a tongue truck eliminates the sore shoulders caused by the whipping of the tongue against the horses.

A tongue on a disc harrow makes discing very hard on the horses, due to the twisting and bucking of the implement which whips the pole against the team almost constantly. For this reason, disc harrows can be equipped with a tongue truck, thus relieving the team of neck weight and any side draft, as well as eliminating the necessity for the team to pry the machine around when turning. On a disc harrow, a front truck is often used without a tongue and the evener is attached to a clevis that steers the truck wheels. However, a tongue attached to the truck gives the team much more leverage for turning the disc at the corners.

Deering grain binder