In the nineteenth century, farm families spent much of their time outdoors taking care of their animals and crops. To prevent sunburn, many women wore sunbonnets, like this one, to protect their skin. It is made of cotton and is entirely hand stitched.
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.
After plowing, the large clumps of dirt needed to be broken up in order to level the field. To do this, a farmer would have used a harrow like this. The harrow would have been pulled by a strong horse or a pair of oxen. This harrow is called a folding A-frame harrow because of its shape. It has a wooden frame and metal teeth. These “teeth” did the work of breaking up the clumps of soil.
The plow was the major farm implement of the nineteenth century. A strong plow was needed to break up the soil to prepare for planting. This plow has an iron share and moldboard. The share is the sharp edge that cuts the soil, and the moldboard is the curved, metal part of the plow that turns over the soil. The beam and handles are made of wood. This is just one of many different styles of plows.