FARM MACHINERY
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A BRIEF HISTORY (Very Brief)


The first farm machinery (hands)

Since the dawn of human history man has always sought to find ways and means in which to make the task of work and therefore living easier. Farming is, I am glad to say no exception to that rule.

Ever since man originally developed agriculture and domesticated the first livestock, he has developed tools to help him become ever-more efficient.


Bronze axe


Stone Axe

The first of these tools were no more than whatever conveniently shaped stones, animal bones and pieces of wood came readily to hand at the time and place they were required. Gradually the casual use of convenient materials gave way to the deliberate production of tools for a specific purpose.

The next great leap forwards came when metals were discovered. How they were discovered, is lost in the mists of time. It may have been the malleability of some 'stones' when struck; it may have been changes noticed after the 'stone' had been placed in fire who is to say?

With the introduction of metals the farming implements became stronger, tougher, longer lasting. Stone axes and wooden plough's were replaced with the new material; more land could be cleared and brought into use faster.


Shire horse and single blade plough

As well as the development of the tools themselves, man was to harness the power of the animals that he had domesticated. Harness an ox or horse to the plough, and the area of land you can cover increases enormously.

The next logical advance was to work the animals in teams of two or more, the more horse power the more work.

By the end of the 19th century the steam engine was beginning to see use in the field of agriculture ( field, agriculture, get it. Oh never mind:-)

These machines were the traction engines (tractors). Some could, if you pardon the pun, move under their own steam others were fixed, and simply pulled the likes of a plough across the field in one direction while a second would pull it back.

With the development of the internal combustion engine, and its replacement of the bulky steam powered engines it became possible for one man to efficiently work an area of land that at one time would have taken a gang of agricultural labourers to accomplish the same task.

In the next few pages we will look in more detail at the humble tractor and other farm appliance's.


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