1902 Encyclopedia > Agriculture > Steam Power Tillage Improvements

Agriculture
(Part 19)




VI. MACHINES AND IMPLEMENTS OF HUSBANDRY (cont.)

Steam Power Tillage Improvements


Such are the most important of those implements by which the tilling of the soil has hitherto been accomplished, and upon which the farmer must continue to rely as long as he uses the muscular force of animals as his motive power. But the progress of invention has at last made the steam-engine practically available for this purpose, and accordingly we here introduce some notice of what has now been accomplished in applying steam power to the cultivation of the soil.

After many abortive attempts to do this by moving the engine itself over the land to be operated upon, it is now admitted on all hands that the only available method is to communicate the power from the engine to the implements by means of steel wire-ropes and windlasses. This is done in a variety of ways, some of the most prominent of which we shall now describe. The systems actually in operation fall under two general classes, which are known severally as the "Direct" and the "Roundabout." The first of these is the system introduced by Messrs John Fowler & Co. of Cornhill, London, and now so well known in connection with their name. The late Mr. John Fowler’s first effort were directed to the production of a draining apparatus, and it was after succeeding in this apparently more arduous effort that he adapted his tackle to the hauling of tillage implements. After various tentative changes, Mr. Fowler settled on the form which is still in extensive use. It consists of a single locomotive engine, usually of 12 or 14 horse-powers, with a windlass attached to it under the boiler. Around this windlass an endless steel wire-rope passes with a single turn in a groove, which, by means of hinged clips, lays hold of nearly the entire circumference of the rope, and that with a force proportioned to the strain upon the rope, which thus obtains sufficient grip to convey the necessary hauling power without risk of slipping upon the drum. This wire-rope, which requires to be just twice as long as the field to be tilled is wide, passes round a sheave upon a self-acting anchor placed at the farther side of the field opposite to the engine. This anchor is a prominent feature in Mr. Fowler’s apparatus. It consists of a low truck on four wheels, with sharp disk edges, which cut deeply into the soil, and thus obtain a hold sufficient to resist the strain of the wire-rope. A box, loaded with stones, is fixed on the outer side of his truck to hinder it from canting over. The sheave mounted upon this truck, besides serving its primary use, gives motion when required to a drum, which winds up a rope, the other end of which is fixed well ahead in the direction in which the truck is required to move. Thus the apparatus warps itself along the headland as the ploughing progresses, and is kept always vis-à-vis to the engine, which moves itself forward by its own locomotive power at every bout of the ploughs, and keeps abreast of them. That the rope may not drag upon the ground, friction rollers or rope-porters, as they are called, are placed at suitable intervals. These being mounted on wheels and strung upon the rope, are now in a good measure self-acting, as the tautness of the rope keeps them in its own line. The ploughs are fixed to a balance frame carried on two wheels, and are in duplicate, pointing to each other, so that when the set at one end of the frame is in work, the opposite set is carried aloft in the air. The plough frame is thus hauled to and fro across the field, between the engine and movable anchor, by reversing the action of the windlass; and it is adapted for taking from two to eight furrows at once, according to the power of the engine employed, or the nature of the soil that is operated upon.

Messrs Fowler have made this form of their apparatus more generally available by adapting it for attachment to the ordinary 8-horse power thrashing engine. When thus used the clip-drum is mounted on a separate frame and connected with the engine, which being stationed in a corner of the field to be ploughed, the rope is carried to two self-acting anchors, one at each side of the field, and thus encloses a triangle. The plough is drawn to and fro betwixt these anchors, and as it gradually approaches the engine at each successive bout, the gearing on the plough-frame tightens up the rope and accommodates it to the diminishing length required.

To work Fowler’s apparatus there are required one-engine driver, one ploughman, a stout lad to attend to the anchor, two boys to shift the rope-porters, and a horse and boy to supply the engine with water and fuel.

About 1865 Messrs Fowler made a important addition to their apparatus by substituting a second engine for their movable anchor. In this arrangement, now well known as the "Double Engine System" a pair of locomotive engines, each having a plain winding drum instead of the clip-drum, are placed opposite to each other at the ends of the field to be operated upon; the rope of each of the engines is attached to the plough, or other tillage implement, which is drawn to and fro betwixt them by each working in turn. While the engine in gear is coiling in its rope and drawing the plough towards itself, the rope of the other engine is paid out with merely so much drag on it as to keep it from kinking or getting raveled on the drum. The advantages claimed for this system are, economy of power from the direct pull of the engines on the implement; the facility and rapidity with which the engine move themselves and the whole apparatus from field to field, or farm to farm, and take up their positions and get to work without the aid of horses; and the few hands required to work it. Its drawbacks are the large first cost, and corresponding charge for wear and tear, depreciation, and interest; its unsuitableness for working in small and irregularly shaped fields; and the injury done to headlands in wet weather. Its special adaptation is for large farms, and for working for hire, and for these it is undoubtedly without a rival.

Mr. William Smith of Woolston, Bedfordshire, may fairly be regarded as the pioneer of cultivation by steam power. At the of the Royal Agricultural Society of England at Carlisle in 1855, he witnessed the performance of the late John Fowler’s steam draining-plough, and then contracted with him to construct for him a windlass and other tilling apparatus, with which he got to work on his own farm in the autumn of that year. These two leaders in steam-cultivation did not long work together. They had decided and diverse opinions as to the best road to success, and accordingly each for the future took his own course. Mr. Smith’s merit is not largely that of an original inventor of machinery, but rather that of a zealous, persevering, and successful applier of the inventions of others. But by his own example and his vigorous writings, he has contributed very largely indeed to the success of steam cultivation. He makes use of the ordinary portable engine, such as is employed as a thrashing power, which gives motion to a detached windlass with two drums, from which a wire-rope is carried round the area to be operated upon, and hence the name "Roundabout" applied to this system. This rope being attached by a turning bow to a powerful grubber, the implement is drawn to and fro across the field by reversing as required the action of the windlass, the slack half of the rope being uncoiled from the one drum as the part in work is wound up upon the other. His mode of working is to break up the ground by using a three-tined grubber, and then to go over it again with a seven-tined one, working at right angles to the first. Mr. Smith zealously advocates the superiority of grubbing to ploughing, being of opinion that if the soil is thoroughly broken up to a sufficient depth, it is better not to reverse the surface, as weeds are thus kept on the top, and the removal of them thereby greatly facilitated.

Mr. Smith soon made an important addition to his system of tillage by means of an implement which he calls a Ridger and Subsoiler. By means of it the soil, after being thoroughly smashed up by the steam-grubber, is thrown into 36-inch ridges, the tine at the same time penetrating and loosening the subsoil in each furrow several inches deeper. His clay soil treated thus immediately after harvest is put into the best possible condition for benefiting by the alternations of wintry weather, for allowing rain-water to pass readily and beneficially to the drains, and for yielding a friable seed-bed in spring. It has enabled him altogether to dispense with dead fallows; to grow abundant crops of wheat and beans alternately for a number of successive years, at an average annual cost of 8s. 6d. per acre for tillage; and to keep his land perfectly clean under his constant cropping. He has the high merit not only of being the first man who successfully used steam power for the cultivation of a farm, but of demonstrating that this can be done with manifest economy even by the occupiers of small farms, seeing that his own farm extends to but 180 acres of arable land. After the lapse of eighteen years there is probably no one yet practices steam cultivation with as great success and economy. At the end of this period he reports that his engine and tackle are in excellent condition.

Mr. Smith’s apparatus was for a time manufactured by the well-known firm of J. & F. Howard of Bedford, and more recently by Barford and Perkins of Peterborough. Since 1860 the Messrs Howard have sent out a tackle of their own, in which the main features of Smith’s system are retained, but to these they have themselves added from time to time various improvements. By means of a self-acting windlass and self-moving anchors, their tackle can now be worked by one engineman (who also attends to the windlass), one ploughman, and two porter-boys.

Although the earliest in date of invention, the most recent in actual operation is the tackle of Messrs Fisken, which has features peculiar to itself. A single traction engine is stationed at any convenient point on the margin of or near to the field to be operated upon, the preference always being given to a site where there is water, whence it can supply itself either by pumping or by the patent injector. The other parts of the apparatus are two self-moving anchor windlass, which are placed opposite to each other on two sides of the field, occupying the place and doing the work of the two engines in the double engine system. These windlasses are mounted on four disc wheels, and have also a spud which cuts into the soil to give the necessary resistance to the side pull. They each carry a winding-drum with the necessary length of wire-rope, and these windlass-drums wind up and pay out alternately in precisely the same way as in Fowler’s double engines. They also have each a winding-forward drum with the wire-rope and anchor fixed a-head, by means of which they warp themselves forward and keep abreast as the work progresses. Power is communicated from the engine to these windlasses by means of a light hemp rope, traveling at the speed of the fly-wheel, which is carried all round the field, and takes a double turn round a grooved pulleys on wheels carry this rope round the corners of the field; another set of pulleys, on stakes driven into the ground at suitable points, carry it off the ground; and a tension anchor mounted on four wheels, and having, like the windlasses, an apparatus by which it wraps itself forward, and keeps the hemp-rope taut as the length out varies with the progress of the work. The windlasses have each a self-acting clutch, which stops the implement when any obstruction is encountered, and by which the attendants stop it at the turnings, or when otherwise necessary, without in any case requiring to stop the engine. By these arrangements the engine-driver does not require to have the implements in sight, his duty being merely to drive his engine at a uniform speed, as neither stopping nor reversing are required. The advantages claimed for Fisken’s tackle are this which it has in common with the other Roundabout systems, and, in addition, the use of a light hemp rope to convey power from engine to implement with less friction and cost that in other systems; great adaptability to fields of any size, or shape, or inequality of surface; and a capacity in certain circumstances of being worked by a fixed steam-engine of water power.





The Royal Agricultural Society of England has from the first devoted much attention and large funds to the promotion of steam cultivation, by the prizes offered at its annual shows, and by the reports published in its Journal from year to year. In the prolonged trial of steam-ploughs which took place at Leeds in July 1861 under its auspices, the competition was mainly betwixt Fowler’s and the modification, by Howard, of what is popularly known as Smith’s system. The award of the judges was as follows:--- "the £100 prize offered for the most economical application of steam power to the cultivation of the soil, was awarded to Mr. Fowler for his 12-horse power engine, moving anchor-age and plough; and of the £offered for the most economical application of the ordinary thrashing-engine of the farm to steam cultivation, £75 was given to Mr. Fowler, and £25 to Mr. Howard. Besides these a silver medal is given to Mr. Hayes, for his clever windlass for the same purpose; and the same to Mr. Roby for his combined engine and windlass."

During the summer and autumn of 1861, Mr. J.C. Morton, editor of the Agricultural Gazette, personally inspected the farms of many of these parties, and published from time to time in that paper detailed accounts of his own observations and of the information supplied to him in regard to each case. In his New farmer’s Almanac for 1862, he condensed these reports, and from it we give the following extracts: ---

"Little Woodcote Farm lies --- a tract of open country and light calcareous soil of various depth --- upon the chalk, about a mile from the Carshalton station on the London and Epsom railway. Mr. Arnot has had Fowler’s 10-horse power engine and ploughing apparatus since the harvest of 1859. His apparatus, rope, and engine cost £700. He works a three-furrow plough. The work done each year by the steam plough on his 400 acre farm has thus been 393 acres in 1859-60, and 389 acres in 1860-61. It has been done at the rate of six or seven acres a day for ordinary ploughing, and three acres a day (one acre per furrow) when at the 10 and 12-inch deep work. It may average on the whole five acres a day, including all stoppages and removals, and has thus taken close upon eighty days for its accomplishment. Besides this, however, 150 acres have been ploughed during the time for neighbours at a charge, including everything, of 12s. an acre. The engine is also used for thrashing purposes, and 220 acres at home and 250 acres elsewhere are thus thrashed out for hire.

"The cost of repairs has been uncommonly small --- including a new cog-wheel, repacking cylinders, and a thorough overhaul and cleaning of the whole apparatus at the end of two years --- besides the replacement of shares and sharpening of coulters for the plough, and the gradual wearing of the rope-porters. In all it has not nearly reached £10 a year, at which, nevertheless, we put it. The tear and wear of rope is reported as follows: --- A new 400-yard rope, lately bought, costing £35, has made the stock stronger and better than it was at the beginning. This charge may therefore be put against more than two year’s work, and is equal to about £15 a year. The weekly cost of labor when at work is as follows: --- Engineer, 18s; ploughman, 14s.; anchor lad, 9s.; two porter lads, 6s. each; horse and water cart, about 24s. weekly --- in all, £3, 17s. weekly, or as nearly possible 12s. a day. The cost for oil is 1s. a day, and for fuel, at nine or ten cwt. a day, it may be put at 10s. daily. The charge of depreciation at 10 per cent is £70 a year, and for interest of capital £35 a year.

The whole annual cost may thus be estimated: ---

Labour, 80 days....£48
Fuel and Oil.... £44
Repairs and rope.... £25
Depreciation and interest of capital. £105

------

Total £222

"But 500 acres of thrashing, and 70 or 80 acres per annum of steam ploughing for hire, equal in all to at least forty day’s work per annum, ate also done by this engine. And the profits of this work should be deducted from this sum before Mr. Arnot’s experience of his investment can be accurately described. The sum of £222, at which, if there had been no other use for engine and apparatus, his cost must have been estimated, is equal to 11s. per acre over the work accomplished, much of which, however, was 12 inches deep. But if the proper share of the interest and depreciation of capital be charged upon its work elsewhere for hire, the cost of steam ploughing will not exceed £190, or 10s. 6d.an acre. But Mr. Arnot would contend that the engine is not £30 worse than when he purchased it two years ago; and one-half of this, with interest of capital, will amount to £50, two-thirds only of which should be charged against the plough-work; and £150 would thus appear to be the annual cost of ploughing 400 acres, or 7s. 6d. an acre. In fact, he might very well claim that this sum should be still further reduced by all the profit of his hire elsewhere, which ca hardly be put at less than 20s. a day, and this on forty days per annum will amount to £40 or more; so that the net cost to him of his machinery has not been more than £110 a year, or 5s. 6.d an acre over his ploughing.

"what did it use to cost him when he worked thirteen horses on his farm? He now works six horses. His horses get 2_ bushels of oats, and 2_trusses of hay weekly each, during seven months : ---

30 weeks at 11s. amount to ..£16100
22 weeks on clover, &c., at 5s.. £5100

---------------------

The annual food per horse costs £22 00

"The annual charge for depreciation, farrier, blacksmith, saddler, and implements, is at least £5 per horse, and for interest of capital in horse and implements at least £2more. This makes the annual cost of each horse £29. The wages paid, in cash and cottage, to ploughmen is at least £32 per pair, or £16 per horse, and the whole cost is thus equal to £45 per horse per annum; which over seven horses amounts to £315 per annum --- one-half more than the expenditure, even on the highest estimate, upon the engine which has displaced them, and nearly double what Mr. Arnot has actually incurred when he deducts his profits on its hire.

"A clay land farm near Bedford (the Woolston or Bedford apparatus), the Tithe Farm of Stevington, occupied by Mr. William Pike, is a tract naturally of poor clay soil. The extent farmed by Mr. Pike has till lately been about 475 acres, of which 357 were arable; and fifteen horses were employed in five 3-horse teams upon this extent. Now, about 600 acres are farmed, of which 420 acres are arable; and the whole is managed with ten horses and an 8-horse power engine, working grubbers on the Woolston system. If the additional land requires the same horse power per 100 acres as was needed on the original farm, then, in place of ten horses, seventeen or eighteen must have been needed, and probably Mr. Pike’s mere saving by the use of his 8-horse and cultivating apparatus does not fall short of £300 a year.

"The present cropping of the land is as follows :--- 125 acres ate in wheat, of which 105 were partly after beans, cross-grubbed by steam-power before sowing, and partly after clover, having been cross-grubbed also by steam-power more than once before the previous harvest time, and then horse scarified and harrowed. The reminder was after horse cultivation. There are 60 acres of beans after wheat, its stubble having been dressed with farm-yard dung, and then ploughed by horse power. There are 60 acres of grass clover; 20 acres now in vetches have been cross-grubbed after a manuring; 25 acres in mangolds and turnips have been cross-grubbed in autumn, and again steam-scarified and crossed in spring; 50 acres in barley, and 25 acres in oats, make up the extent of the farm, and were got in after steam-cultivation. By "cross-grubbing" it is meant that the operation was repeated.





"More horse cultivation than usual was done in 1860. Clay land was fit only on rare occasions, and both horse and steam power were then used to the utmost. Mr. Pike has had Mr. Smith’s grubber worked by an ordinary thrashing-engine since July 1858. Since that time 731 acres have been cross-grubbed, i.e, doubly-worked. In addition to this Mr. Pike informs me that he has also cross-grubbed for hire 300 acres of land. For this he charges 25s. an acre, the coals being supplied to the employer."

"Excluding this item from our consideration in the meantime, and assuming that 730 acres --- double cultivated between July 1858 and June 1861 --- correspond to 250 acres annually, the average performance of the engine, including all stoppages except removals, has been six acres daily once cultivated. To do 250 acres twice would therefore occupy at least eighty-three days; adding three days for removals, there are eighty six days’ work of the steam engine to be charged upon the steam cultivation of the farm. The following is the labour and its cost per week : --- 1 engineer, 16s.; 1 ploughman, 11s,; 2 men shifting anchors, 22s.; 1 man at windlass, 12s.; 1 porter-boy, 6s.; 1 boy and horse with water cart, 24s.: the whole amounts to £3, 19s., or 13s. 2d. daily. In addition to this we added the cost of coals, 10cwts. At 19s. a ton on the ground, or 9s. 6d. daily. The oil at 5s. a gallon costs about 1s. a day.

"The daily cost thus comes to 23s. 6d., and this over eighty-six days a

mounts to about £100. Against the engine and apparatus, costing about £510, we must put 10 per cent, or £51, for depreciation, and 5 per cent, or £25, 10s., for interest of capital. The cost of repairs may perhaps be satisfied by an annual charge of £15; and for tear and wear of rope we have the following items: 1400yards of iron wire-rope originally purchased, £50; steel-ropes, 1400yards, since purchased £60. Probably the annual charge needed to maintain this may be made on the theory that the rope will last three years, and £25 a year may suffice for this particular. Adding up these items, we have a sum total of £216, 10s. to be charged against the farm for steam cultivation. Putting £216 against 500 acres once grubbed in the course of the year, we have a charge of about 8s. 7d. an acre for the grubbing. Mr. Pike informed me that, during the three years of his steam cultivation, on several of the ten fields already specified, he has not used the plough at all. Even the mixing of manure with the soil is done by the grabber. No plough is used to bury it. It is laid upon the land, are grubbed to and fro, and thereby mixed sufficiently. The cleanliness of the land, too, is a fair testimony to the quality of cultivation by implements which stir, but do not overturn the soil.

"Mr. Pike has till lately used the grubber invented by Mr. Smith of Woolston, with the turnbow apparatus for turning the tool at the land’s end. Latterly he has used the cultivator of Messrs Howard, each tine of which is double, pointing both fore and aft, so that no turning at all is needed, the claw which follows in the wake of the working tooth as it goes coming into operation in its turn as it comes back again."

Mr. Pike thus writes to Messrs Howard, of date December 2, 1861: ---

‘GENTLEMEN,--- I have cultivated my farm by steam-power for the last four years, and therefore feel myself in a position to speak positively of the merits of the system.

"My farm, belonging to the Duke of Bedford, consist principally of poor, strong, hilly, clay land, which, before I entered upon it, was laid up in three yard ridges, with water gutter drawn across the ridges to take off the water. Since I have steam cultivated it, I have done away with ridges and furrows entirely; my fields of 40 and 50 acres each, which are steep in places, are all laid on the flat, and during the wettest season I have never seen any water stand upon them. I am convinced if land is broken up a good depth by the cultivator, and under drained, there is no need of any furrows, if it is ever so strong.

" I am enabled to manage my farm with abut half the number of horses. I do it with less trouble to myself. I am always more forward with my work, and the horses I do keep cost much less per head than formerly, as all the hard work is done by steam.

"The effect of deep stirring this soil is very apparent in the crops; my land is naturally very poor, so that very large yields are out of the question; but I am convinced I can grow much more corn by steam than by horse cultivation, and I can also grow a larger breadth of root crops. I also find that by constant deep tillage my land moves easier every year, consequently it is less expense to cultivate. I seldom use the plough, except my horse have got nothing else to do.

"I break up my clover lays before harvest, and make a bastad fallow of them. I am convinced this is the surest way of getting a good wheat crop on strong soil; and , besides cleaning the land, it has this advantage, it does not leave so much work to do at Michaelmas. I also break up my tare land before harvest, so that after harvest I have nothing to do but cultivate my bean and wheat stubbles.

"I put away my tackle as soon as possible after we have heavy rains, the latter part of October or beginning of November, and do not bring it out again until the turnip land is ready to break up for barley. My object is to make the best use of the summer and the early autumn.

"When I commenced cultivating by steam, I used a set down to little pieces, but found that too much trouble therefore increased the length of my ropes, as I found it made very little difference to my 8-horse engine whether I had out a long or short length of rope. I have now sufficient to do a 50 acre field, without moving either engine or windlass; this is my largest field; I dug a pond at one end, and I do the whole without moving from the pond. When I can, I set my engine and windlass in an adjoining field, so as to finish headlands and all complete, without going into it. Water carting is a great expense, and in a wet season a great nuisance. I therefore have dug some ponds, and sometimes I dam up a ditch or master drain to obtain a supply.

"I am particularly pleased with the new apparatus you made for me last spring. The windlass is much easier moved about, and is very simple to manage. The cultivator takes less time at land’s end, there is no danger of overturning, it does not jump so much in work, and the hind shares cause the land to lay looser. No matter how hard the ground, it will break it up, and on sidehills it goes much steadier and better than my old one.

portion of it at work yet. If people mean to have their ropes last, they must keep them off the ground, and attend well to the coiling on the windlass drums. I like your new rollers, which carry the rope further from the ground. --- I am, Gentlemen, yours very truly,

"Messrs J. & F. Howard, Bedford.
WILLIAM PIKE."

It is due to Messrs Howard to state that their numerous other customers concur in testifying to the general efficiency of their tackle, its little liability to breakage or derangement, and to the readiness with which their ordinary farm labourers have learned to work it efficiently.

By this time cultivation by steam-power had been adopted by enterprising individuals in nearly every county in England, and was making steady progress in the face of many hindrances. In every instance the purchaser and his servants had to learn the use of novel and somewhat complicated machinery; much of which, as first sent out, proved to be defective both in structure and in material. The fields also, through lack of preparation, often presented obstacles which, as experience was gained, were seen and remedied. In a few instances, where the purchaser of steam tackle was either unable to give his personal superintendence, or lacked the needed energy and perseverance to cope with the difficulties of a new enterprise, it proved a failure. But with rare exceptions, easily accounted for, it was everywhere demonstrated that by steam-power and appropriate implements, the tillage of the soil can be performed with a rapidity, efficiency, and economy far excelling what is practicable by animal power and the old implements.

In the autumn of 1866, which date steam tillage had greatly extended, the Royal Agricultural Society of England sent out three sets of commissioners to inspect and report on the position of steam cultivation at that time. The reports obtained were published in the Society’s Journal for 1867, and present a mass of most interesting and instructive information on the whole subject. The commissioners visited about 150 farms situated in nearly 40 different counties of England, and a few in East Lothian, containing an aggregate area of 66,000 acres, which they estimated to be about a third of the whole area then under steam cultivation. They amply confirm what has already been stated as to the success of this new system of tillage, and make it plain that the changes thus brought about are of such importance as really to amount to a revolution in modern agriculture.

At its annual show in 1871, at Wolverhampton, the English Society again provided for a careful competitive trial of steam-tillage machinery, when the following awards were made: ---

CLASS I. --- For the best combination of machinery for the cultivation of the soil by steam-power ---

1st prize, £100 --- Awarded to Messrs J. Fowler & Co., Leeds.
2nd prize, £50 ---do.do. do.

CLASS II. --- For the best combination of machinery for the cultivation of the soil by steam-power, the weight of the steam-engine not t exceed 10 tons ---

1st Prize,£50 --- Awarded to Messrs Fowler, Leeds.
2nd Prize,£25 --- Awarded to the Ravensthorpe Engineering Co. (Fisken System)

CLASS III. --- For the best combination of machinery for the cultivation of the soil by an ordinary agricultural engine whether self-propelling or portable.

1st Prize, £50 --- Awarded to Messrs Fowler, Leeds.
2nd Prize, £25 --- Awarded to Messrs Howard, Bedford.

A Silver Cup, value £100, offered by the Right Hon. Lord Vernon, president, for the best combination of machinery for the cultivation of the soil by steam-power, the cost of which shall not exceed £700. The engine to be locomotive, and adapted for threshing and other farm purposes. --- Awarded to Messrs Fowler and Co., Leeds.

Steam cultivation has now ceased to be a novelty , and is making rapid progress in all parts of Great Britain and in foreign countries. In March 1873, at an agricultural meeting, it was stated by Messrs Fowler & Co. of Leeds, that they are turning out annually from, their works about 100 sets of their tackle for the home market, and from 50 to 60 for foreign countries., Of their home sales about half are to private individuals, and half to persons who work them for hire. In a district around Magdeburgh fifty sets of their tackle are employed in cultivating the soil for the growth of sugar-beet. The other leading makers are also doing a large business, with the certainty of its becoming larger every year. The expiry of several patents applicable to steam cultivating tackle is giving an additional stimulus to the manufacture of such machines. Partly in this way, and also by contrivances of their own, the Messrs Howard of Bedford have recently (1873) made very considerable changes and progress with their tackle. Their self-acting anchors, and their turning cultivator, which is constructed on an entirely new principle, are said to be respectively the best of their kind.


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