A short history of farm machinery from eighteen fifty to the present day - Autos - Trucks


A short history of farm machinery from eighteen fifty to the present day   by John

in Autos / Trucks    (submitted 2012-02-06)

A short history of farm machinery from eighteen fifty to the present day shows an evolutionary path which was kick started by the introduction of self propelled steam powered traction engines, lumbering leviathans which were, at the time, technical marvels unsurpassed in their power and efficiency. Prior to this time the horse had held sway over farming and had been the beast of burden for many centuries and had up till this time been the powerhouse of the farming revolution over the previous two thousand years or so.

The introduction of the self propelled steam powered traction engine was the liberation of the horse from servitude to man and became increasingly involved in sporting and leisure activities, although it has to be said until the end of the First World War and the introduction of efficient internal combustion engine (ICE) technology, the horse still reigned supreme in cities, towns and the countryside as a means of transport and power.

Steam engine technology and efficiency was to evolve rapidly and reached a peak around about the outbreak of hostilities of the First World War, as is the case with any major hostility necessity is the mother of invention. Great strides were being made in the advancement of the ICE, so much so that by the beginning of the 1920s steam power was receding into the annals of history. Indeed, by the beginning of the 1930s the steam engine was all but a relic of a bygone era and certainly the ICE powered tractor was in the ascendancy.

As tractor technology moved on apace so did the design and application of farming implements including but not limited to ploughs, rakes, harrows, seed drills and specialised equipment such as potato setters and potato harvesters. Hydraulic power was the driving force behind much of the innovation in farm machinery and implements and by the 1950s the landscape of the average farm had changed beyond all recognition from that of a farm less than a century before. Increasing mechanisation saw increasing numbers of farm hands lose their jobs as more was able to be completed by less, thanks to technical innovation.