Electrically Regulated Plow Reduces the Required Man Power on Farms (Mar, 1930)

Electrically Regulated Plow Reduces the Required Man Power on Farms

AN ELECTRIC plow which does not require an attendant was used in a demonstration at Ames, Iowa, at the College of Agriculture, before a large group of western students. The plow is so regulated by the electrical mechanism that it maintains a set speed. It can be adjusted so that it will go around a three or four cornered piece of land, making the turns unaided. It will travel in a true line.

  1. Sean says: September 2, 20114:49 am

    While GPS-guided equipment is pretty common today, it still requires an attendant and I have trouble believing that a tractor which appears to be guided solely be dead reckoning could stay true over the many squishy miles that it would travel plowing a field. I spent a big chunk of my childhood behind the wheel of a tractor and there is never a time when you can stop making course corrections, nor is there ever a field which is perfectly square.

    I love, though, the drive on that machine and some other contemporary tractors. Because you couldn’t put much torque on spokes like that, the wheels are powered by a small gear engaging teeth around their inner edge. They had an open oil system that constantly dripped onto the pinion gear. Can you imagine how expensive that’d be today?

  2. Mitch 9Hz says: September 2, 20116:25 pm

    Am I looking at the picture wrong or is the plow facing the wrong direction?????

  3. Sean says: September 2, 20117:13 pm

    It’s bi-directional. There’s a plowshare on either end of the machine. When it reaches the end of a furrow, rather than turn around, it just reverses which causes it to tilt like a see-saw and drops the other end into the ground. These were pretty common with early steam tractors, the weight of which would have been too much for freshly plowed earth. Rather than having the tractor pull the plow directly, it would run along the edge of the field and pull a double ended plow across with a cable. When the plow reached the tractor, a line running to a second tractor or a heavy cart or on the other side of the field and back to the tractor would pull it back in the other direction.


    It makes this a slightly less bad idea since it eliminates error-prone turns at the end of every furrow.

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