Mechanical Hired Man (Nov, 1955)

Mechanical Hired Man

Britisher’s relentless ploughboy quits only when the work is done.

FARMER E. A. Cory of Compton Abdale, Gloucestershire, England, has designed a completely automatic tractor control. His Fordson Diesel tractor has a steering arm connected by light cord to a square reel he can set up in the center of any ground he wants to work. Once started, the tractor works in a widening circle until the line is played out, returns as the line rewinds, stops when it reaches the control post. •

  1. Sean says: March 9, 20125:08 am

    Better design than some of these that I’ve seen. And it’s OK so long as you’re doing something that can work in a circle.

  2. Mke says: March 9, 20123:54 pm

    A lot of farming these days is done on land that is irrigated by central pivot irrigation systems. Therefore, a lot of fields are actually round. I noticed one other thing though, I’ve never seen a farmer actually wear a jacket and tie while working in the field.

  3. Toronto says: March 9, 20125:11 pm

    I can definitely remember my grandfather (though rarely) and his brother wearing ties in the field. Usually when they were ‘managing’ and possibly doing some bank business as well.

    Central pivot always seems so damned wasteful to me, but I’ve only ever driven through areas that use it, so don’t know the on-the-ground position. It may well be the only way to make a go of things.

  4. Hirudinea says: March 10, 20124:59 pm

    @ Toronto – If you have more land than water to irrigate it with then it makes snese.

  5. Sean says: March 10, 20126:25 pm

    My grandpa, dad, and I always wear old dress shirts when working out in the field. They’re light enough to be comfortable, but protect the arms and neck from sunburn. Can’t say we’ve ever worn ties, though…..

    While central-pivot irrigation is popular in areas with large amounts of land, two things strike me here:
    First, as Hirudinea points out, English farms are smaller than ones in the American plains and midwest. While farmers here can afford to not use more than 20% of their land in order to utilize a simple automatic method of working a field, it wouldn’t work so well in cramped, little England.

    Second, English fields are hillier. While a spiraling tractor could traverse rougher ground than a central-pivot irrigator, it would mean that plowing and planting couldn’t be done in contour strips to minimize runoff and erosion.

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