Letter in Hinman Milking Machine Trade Catalog, Thomas Taggert to J.P. Meyers (1917), Hinman Milking Machine Co., Oneida, NY, [1921?], p. 34, Trade cats Ag Imp H593h, 14 x 18 cm., Research Library Special Collections Trade Catalogs: Agricultural Implements, N0650.1999
In 1907, when engineers at Ford first began designing a motorized agricultural machine, they referred to it as an “automobile plow.” Tractors would revolutionize farming in the twentieth century. The Ford 871 Select-O-Speed was a state-of-the-art tractor in 1959. Rated at 45 horsepower, it had ten forward speeds that could be shifted on the go. This tractor was originally purchased from R.C. Lacy Ford in Catskill, New York, by farmer Edward Phinney of Jewett, New York.
This map has been edited to show the location of the creamery in Sempronius (Cayuga County), New York.
Companies that made agricultural equipment often stressed how efficient their machines were. This photograph from a trade catalog demonstrates that by using the company’s milking machine, one woman can do the work of three milkers.
In order to harvest grain and process it to be used for food, farmers must cut the grain from the field and separate the grain from the plant. Cutting the grain in the field is known has harvesting or reaping. Separating the grain from the plant is known as threshing. Harvesting and threshing were two separate jobs, but machines called “combines” save farmers time by both cutting and threshing in one step.
This combine was patented in 1879. Notice the machine was powered by steam, but the farmer still relied on horses to move the machine through the fields.
The Main Barn at The Farmers’ Museum began as a cow barn at Fenimore Farm, owned by Edward Severin Clark. The stone barn had stanchions for eighty cows, enameled stalls, two silos for hay and grain storage, and a separate stone creamery for processing the milk. The barn’s grand opening included a celebration on June 15, 1918. Edward Severin Clark is standing in the middle with a cane.
To harvest grain, the crop was usually first cut, then the grain was separated from the stalk or body of the crop. Grain cradles were used for cutting and gathering the crops. The long wooden “fingers” of the cradle gathered the straw as it was cut and deposited it in piles. The cradle was an improvement on a single blade because the fingers acted as extensions of the farmer’s arms and made harvesting a little easier.
The grand opening of the new cow barn at Fenimore Farm included a sit-down dinner for 150 people. Guests sat at tables with white linens in the central aisle of the milking stalls on the first floor of the barn.
Doctors and independent pharmacists had to mix their own medicines during the nineteenth century. Solid ingredients could be ground into powders and mixed with other ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Powders could be mixed with liquids to make liquid medicines, or rolled into pills and lozenges.
Planting is a very important step in the farming process. This small seeding bag spread the grain seed out onto the field. Planting could have also been done by hand, but the seeding bag made the process much easier. This seeder is operated by a crank at the bottom. The farmer would turn the crank, the seeds would come out through the bottom of the bag, and be spread out onto the field.