Arago: Exhibits


Farming In Early 1800s & Early 1900s

Life on a farm in the 1800s was not easy. Farming tools were mostly simple, hand held iron devices. Some examples include the Scythe (a sharp curved blade at the end of a pole used to harvest grain), a cultivator (a horse-drawn plow with six blades that digs furrows where seeds can be planted), and a flail (a tool to separate the seeds from the other particles of the grain).

Midwest farmers lived initially in soddies (houses made out of sod: a mixture of dirt, mud and grass roots). Around the middle part of the 1800s, most farmers in the Midwest lived in single room log cabins.

Injuries were very common while farming with these tools. Though these injuries occured, at least the soil was very rich and full of nutrients.

Farming in the Midwest becomes more effiecient by the early 1900s. One major development is the use of horse-drawn tools like the Combine (a tool that can cut and thresh a field of grain at the same time). Above all other technological developments in farming was the invention of the steel plow. This new tool had sharper blades that cut through the thick prairie roots found throughout the Midwest. Another important tool that defined this period in Midwest farming was the reaper, a device that could cut grain better than the scythe.

Master Collection, United States Scott 286, Trans-Mississippi Exposition
75c Harvesting Parcel Post single

An Early 1900s Combine in use.