1902 Encyclopedia > Agriculture > Machines and Implements of Husbandry - Recent Improvements

Agriculture
(Part 16)




VI. MACHINES AND IMPLEMENTS OF HUSBANDRY

Recent Improvements


That the cultivation of the soil may be carried on to the best advantage, it is necessary that the farmer be provided with a sufficient stock of machines and implements of best construction. Very great improvement has of late years taken places in this department of mechanics. The great agricultural societies of the kingdom have devoted much of their attention to it; and under their auspices, and stimulated by their premiums, exhibitions, and competitive trials, manufacturers of skills and capital have embarked largely in the business. In many instances the quality of the article has been improved and its cost reduced. There has hitherto been a tendency to produce implements needlessly cumbrous and elaborate, and to introduce variations in form which are not improvements. The inventors of several valuable implements, the exclusive manufacture of which they have secured to themselves by patent, appear to have retarded their sale, and marred their own profits by the exorbitant prices which they have put upon them. Some, however, have become alive to the advantages of looking rather to large sales with a moderate profit on each article, and of lowering prices to secure this. A most salutary practice has now become common of inventors of implements of ascertained usefulness granting license to other parties to use their patent-right on reasonable terms, and thus removing the temptation to evade it by introducing some alteration which is trumpeted as an improvement, although really the reverse.

The extended use of iron and steel in the construction of agricultural implements is materially adding to their durability, and generally to their efficiency, and is thus a source of considerable savings. While great improvements has taken place ion this department, it too commonly happens that the village mechanics, by whom a large portion of this class of implements is made and repaired, are exceedingly unskilled, and lamentably ignorant of the principles of their art. They usually furnished good materials and substantial workmanship, but by their unconscious violation of mechanical laws, enormous waste of motive power is continually incurred and poor results are attained. This can probably be remedied only by the construction of the more costly and complex machines being carried on in extensive factories, where, under the combined operation of scientific superintendence, ample capital, and skilled labor, aided by steam power, the work can be so performed as to combine the maximum of excellence with the minimum of cost.






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