A CORRECTION and HISTORY

137 Wellington Street West Toronto  I, Canada

Have sure enjoyed ‘Iron-Men Album’ since my subscription
started a few months ago.

However, your July-August issue has an inaccuracy in cut lines,
or notes under photos, repeated incidentally, which I must correct.
The name, Cockshutt, in Canada is like Roosevelt, Vanderbilt,
McCormick, Case to you. Cockshutt plows have been known in Canada
and over most of the world for well over half a century.

I refer specifically to Page 13 of your July-August issue, with
two photos by a fellow Canadian, Carl Fisher, of Briercrest, Sask.,
– how well I remember that name from the ’20’s when I was
provincial editor of the old Regina Post!

I write to correct the word, Cock-shut, describing plows twice
on that page. The Cockshutt Plow Company was started by Ignatius
Cockshutt and his brother back in 1877 at Brantford, Ontario, and
believe me, they’re still there.

I remember, as a young guy on our farm in Alberta, working on an
outfit with two Cockshutt ‘Brush Breaker’ plows powered by
a 110 hp Case steamer. These plows were made in Brantford by the
Cockshutt Plow Co., and were built to stand the heavy work for
which they were designed. They turned a 24 to 30 inch furrow, 10 or
12 inches deep if need be, to get under the willow or poplar
stumps. The beam was compounded of three slabs of steel, each one
inch thick, and about six inches wide, bolted together with 1 inch
steel bolts. One went back at a 135 degree angle to back end of the
land; the centre section went straight down to the mould board
brace and land, and the third went forward at about a 45 degree
angle to strengthen the ‘Cutter’ which was notched onto the
point of the plowshare and kept razor sharp to slice through stumps
and willow clumps. I’ve seen that old 110 Case snap a one inch
steel cable, and I’ve also seen one of those plows slice
through and turn over a 14 inch green poplar stump, and turn it
over like Buffalo grass sod.

I’ve also been one of the hands who worked two days to get
that same old 110 Case onto solid ground after the engineer let it
bury itself in semi-soft grey clay on this same breaking job. It
saved us burning a lot of green poplar, because by the time we got
enough 6 and 8 inch logs under those 48 x 84 inch wheels for her to
pull herself out of the soft spot, the wood was buried deep enough
to stay there, be filled over by ‘floats’, disc harrows,
etc., and rot to form plant food that would help produce No. 1
Northern wheat which commonly ran 60 bushels to the acre on newly
broken ground.

John Deere made a good imitation, but with all due respect, they
would not take the tough going that those old Cockshutts could.
Mind you, that’s not the only claim to fame for the Cockshutt
Company. But it is certainly one to all old timers who remember the
opening of the three Canadian prairie provinces, i.e., Manitoba,
Saskatchewan and Alberta. They made all types of farm implements,
binders, mowers, rakes, plows from single walking jobs to 14 bottom
gang plows for steam or gas tractors, and all the rest of it. The
names I remember clearly back in the early ’20’s were
Cockshutt, Massey-Harris, John Deere, McCormick-Deering, Oliver,
and so on.

You should know that the late Col. Henry Cockshutt (same family
and head of the Company) was Lieutenant – Governor of Ontario from
September 1921 until January 1927. C. Gordon, his nephew, retired
as President of Cockshutt at Brantford within the past year or
so.

So, when you speak of ‘Cock-shut’ plows, you are very,
very wrong. Ask John Deere in Moline, I11. Some of the old timers
there will remember too well the competition they had in the
‘good old days’ with the Cockshutt Plow Company.

Keep up the good work, and if you’re in doubt at any time
about Canadian names or companies like that, don’t hesitate to
write me. I don’t know much, but I can always find the
answer.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment