Monday, September 10, 2018

The Farm - plowing, sowing, reaping, thrashing, winnowing and milling

This interesting farm image with tools is from a book published in London by 1844. Closeup of the sketches (click to enlarge) and description follow...

"Look at this picture, and tell me what it contains:— the centre of it represents a FARM YARD. On the right you observe a barn, with men thrashing:

in a field, adjoining, ploughing and harrowing is going on. In the distance is a wind-mill; and near the middle of the plate is a water-mill. 

On the other side of the picture, we see hay making, and in various parts of the yard are fowls, ducks, geese, turkies, horses, cows, pigs, &c. Around the plate are various implements of husbandry. In the first corner, No. 1, is the sower; in the opposite corner, No. 6, is the mower ; in corner, No. 7, is the reaper; and, in the right-hand lower corner, is the thrasher.

The side plate, No. 13, represents the machinery of a wind-mill, 

and the opposite side plate is the picture of the large wheel of a water-mill. Besides these, we have the plough, No. 2; the harrow, No. 3; the roller, No. 4; the drill, No. 5; the sickle, No. 8; the scythe, No. 9; the flail, No. 10; and the winnowing machine, No. 11. It will now be-my business to tell you something about these things.

When the crops are cleared off the ground, the farmer manures his land; that is, having collected large quantities of dung, mould, straw, leaves, and various kinds of rubbish, it is carted into the field, and thrown down in heaps at regular distances: men then come with their broad forks, called dung forks, and spread it over the soil.

The next operation is ploughing. If you look at the plough, you will see that it has pointed and cutting irons at its under part, so made and fixed, that they not only cut the soil, as they pass through it, but also turn it over. The plough is drawn by one or more horses, driven by a boy, while the ploughman guides it, as seen in the picture.

After ploughing, the ground is harrowed,—that is, it is raked all over; but as it would be impossible to rake large fields in the same way as we rake a garden, a machine is made, (the harrow,) which has sharp teeth, like a rake, and this is drawn over the ground by horses, as shown in the picture.

Sometimes the ground requires to be rolled, in consequence of the clods being large. A large roller is drawn over the field, which breaks the clods and renders the whole surface smooth and uniform. 

After the ground has been thus prepared for the reception of seed, the sower comes and scatters the seed with an even hand. A skilful sower throws the seed with such exactness, that it comes up with great regularity.

SEED is sometimes sown with a machine, called a drill, which sows it very quickly. The seed is put into a trough, or box, above, and dribbles out into the furrows from little spouts below, as it is drawn along over the ground.

When the corn is up, it requires to be weeded; and a number of women and children go out into the fields with hoes, and hoe up every weed, and even some of the corn, if it grow too thickly.

After this, the corn grows till the sun ripens it, then it turns yellow; the seed in the ear becomes hard, and the harvest commences.

The reaper now comes with the sickle, and the corn is cut down, and bound up in bundles, called sheaves : several of these bundles are placed in a row, side by side, when they form what is called a shock.

After a short time, the corn thus sown, grown, and o by the sun, is carted away to the barn, or it is piled up in large stacks, where it remains till it is wanted for sale or use.

The next operation is thrashing. The corn is spread out on the floor of the barn, and beat with long rods, having a leathern joint in the middle ; these sticks or rods are called flails. If the corn was to be beaten with a stick without a joint, it could not be so easily struck, and it would be harder work for the thrasher.

Sometimes corn is thrashed by a machine, called a thrashing machine; this, however, although it performs the work much quicker, does not do it so well.

After the corn is thrashed, it has to be separated from the chaff. This operation is performed by what is called a winnowing machine, which, by raising a current of air within it, blows the chaff away, and the wheat, by its greater weight, falls to the bottom.—(See plate, No. 11.)

The corn has now to be ground. It is taken to the miller, who grinds it, and sifts it, for a certain sum per quarter. It is thus converted into flour, bran, and middlings.

THERE are two sorts of mills, wind-mills and watermills. Wind-mills have been invented about six hundred years. Before this time corn was ground by hand, between stones, and is so in India at the present day.

The picture, No. 13, represents the interior of a windmill. At the point, a, are the sails, supposed to be on the outside of the mill, which, as you very well know, are forced round by the wind.

These, by some machinery you cannot see in the plate, communicate motion to the upper mill-stone inside of the box, b : this stone turns on another, called the lower or nether mill-stone.

The corn is placed in a bin, or box, above; and by the motion of the mill-machinery, gradually dribbles through the trough, d, and enters the hole in the centre of the box, where the mill-stones are. It passes through a hole in the stone also, and thus gets between the two mill-stones. As the upper stone turns with great rapidity, and as it does not quite touch the lower stone, the corn is in consequence, as it passes between the stones, bruised and broken into flour. From the circular motion of the stone, the flour is carried outside of it, and comes out at the hole, e, passes into the hopper, h, and falls into the bin, k. The meal, or flour, has now to be dressed or sifted; this, the machinery of the mill performs. There are several dressers of various degrees of fineness: into these, one after another, the flour passes, and is there shaken and sifted. The fine flour comes out first; then the middlings; and, lastly, the coarse husk of the wheat, called bran.

Martin, William.  The Holiday Book: with Numerous Illustrations ... 2d ed  London: 1865
William Martin (1801-1867) was an illustrator, editor and writer.  The Holiday Book was first published in London by at least 1844.

©2018 Patricia Bixler Reber
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