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.
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.
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.
A cooper was someone that made or repaired wooden containers and barrels. This tool, the concave sun-plane, was used to smooth out the tops and bottoms of the staves after the container was put together.
The froe is used to split wood into slabs or thin wedges. The cooper used the froe to quarter split a block of wood into wedges to make staves. The froe is held with the metal head against a piece of wood and the handle in the air. It would then be hit with a mallet to create a clean, rectangular split in the wood.
The cooper used a croze to cut a groove into the bucket or barrel so the lid or bottom would fit securely against the wood. The cooper had to make sure the pieces of wood fit tightly together so none of the contents, such as milk or grain, would seep out.
The milk produced at Fenimore Farm had one of three destinations. Some was bottled and sold locally and regionally, while other milk was bottled and shipped by rail to The Dakota, an upscale apartment building in Manhattan that Edward Severin Clark owned. The rest of the milk was sold in bulk to larger dairy producers.