Sheep were often raised for their wool. In order to get the wool from the sheep, the farmer uses shears like these to carefully cut the wool fleece away from the sheep’s skin. The wool can then be washed, carded, and spun into yarn.
After the hops pickers harvested the hops into hop boxes, the farmer paid them with tickets. Each ticket represented the number of boxes the worker picked. These tickets are from the Wedderspoon farm near Cooperstown, NY.
Threshing is the process used to separate the chaff, the protective covering around the grain, and the kernel of grain used for food, from a plant’s stalk. Farmers used flails to remove the chaff and grain from the stalk and to crack open the chaff.
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.
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.
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.
Blacksmiths working in specialized shops made many of the tools that farmers needed to work in their fields. The blade on this large hay knife was made by a blacksmith. After a wooden handle was added, the farmer used this tool to cut down tall grasses during harvest time.
Many companies that manufactured agricultural equipment advertised by having broadsides printed. Broadsides are an early type of poster. This broadside advertises the Buckeye Mower and Self-Raking Reaper. Farmers could have used a catalog from the company to choose equipment and would have ordered by letter.