Just south of Nashville, the Tennessee Agricultural Museum is housed, understandably enough, in a barn.
The main level of the facility is well-stocked with obsolete agricultural technology from years gone by: mills, mechanical harvesters, a covered wagon and even a treadmill for sheep and horses.
But like any barn, the upper level here is the place for the best rummaging.
Here, they stashed the gear they have not gotten around to fully displaying or even figuring out what to do yet, a bric-a-brac of primitive, discarded agtech. The showcases of plows and cultivators alone are worth the climb.
Part 1: Digging into the LandAn Evolution of Plows
The part of the plow that turns over the dirt was called the moldboard, and you can see here how they evolved over the centuries. Slow-moving work though: Pulled by a horse or team of horses, a good plow could turn an acre or two in a single day.
The New Ground Plow (1870)
The Bull Tongue Plow (1870)
The St. Louis Imperial (1914)
The Hillside Turning Plow (1930)
What a farm store plow section must have looked like back in the day.
A Showcase of Cultivators
While plows prepared new fields for planting by turning over new soil, cultivators have a more nuanced touch. They can be used to eliminate the weeds in an already plowed field, and to break up soil for another crop. Although tractors have long replaced farm animals as the prime movers, the basic dictomy of plowing vs. cultivating has remained.
So Many Ways to Till the Earth.
Cotton Splitter or Potato Digger?
Who ya got?
Head to Head
Grinding Away the ChaffThe Pea Huller
A 1896 device to remove peas from their shelves
A Wheat Fanning Mill
This style of fanning mill was patented in 1879. It was used to winnow the chaff from the wheat.
Farm Animal Treadmill
Of course, grinding wheat didn't always have to be done by hand. This device could also be used by horses, goats, and even large dogs. A connecting belt would allow the animals, as they walked up the movable plank, to churn butter or to mill wheat.
Part 3: Rummaging Around the BarnAn Assortment of Unidentified Gear
All on the second floor
So much more to explore!