Friday, September 21, 2012

Farm Heritage: Technical Advancement in Agriculture

By: Corinne Court, Collections Cataloger at Curt Teich Postcard Archives

4B10 Curt Teich American Art, The Hereford, Texas, shallow water irrigation area in Santa Fe main line is nationally famed for its potatoes, onions, alfalfa, grain sorghums, ensilage, wheat and registered Hereford breeding stock
OEK126 CurtTeich 3-D atural Color, Dekalb XL-66 - Hottest hybrid to hit the Central Corn Belt

As I look outside my work window, I see tractors, farm equipment, produce, and a donkey waiting for the festivities to begin. What festival you may ask? The Farm Heritage Festival at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois.  We are not the only organization to showcase farm equipment and farming techniques. Other towns and counties organize farm shows all over the United States and I bet I could search on Google and find farm shows in Europe.  Machinery is what attracts my eye as I stare outside the window. The history of the technical advancement in agriculture amazes me.

The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years. Subsistence-farming, which farmers raised most of their crops for own consumption, was the practice prior to America's Industrial Revolution (1820-1870).  However, the Industrial Revolution was the transition away from manual labor and agricultural-based economy to a machine-based manufacturing system.  Farmers incorporated the machine-based trend and changed from hand power to horses.  Scholars characterize this trend as the beginning of the American agricultural Revolution.  Inventors and entrepreneurs saw the value in this technical advancement and created factories to manufacture large farm equipment, such as the McCormick horse-drawn reaper, steam tractors, and combine harvesters.

VO Hammon Publishing Company, Combine Harvester State of Washington
10976 Detroit Publishing Company, A Twenty-Four Horse Power Harvester, San Joaquin Valley, California

At the turn of the 20th century and throughout today, gas-powered machinery moved farmers into the modern age.  No longer were machines powered by horses or oxen, as viewed on the Detroit Publishing postcard above.  For the last 75 years we have seen tractors and farm equipment help farmers mass produce corn, wheat, cotton, and other vegetables and fibers. The Curt Teich Postcard Archives have advertising postcards for farm equipment such as the McCormick-Deering Combine, The New Idea Tractors, and Warco Company's Motor Grader.

1BH552 Curt Teich Colortone, No. 42 McCormick-Deering Combine
2CH956 Curt Teich Art-Colortone, WARCO 4D-85 and WARCO 4D-100
9BH593 Curt Teich Art-Colortone, The NEW IDEA corn picker
9BH591 Curt Teich Colortone, The NEW IDEA Tractor Mower

The next time you see an ad in the paper for a farm show, join the festivities! Farm enthusiasts are happy to teach young and old the value of farms and crops, and the history of the advancement of farm technology.  At the Lake County Farm Heritage Festival, there are tractor parades, sheep herding, live music, wagon rides, petting zoo and much more! September 22-23, 2012.  www.LCFPD/farmheritage

Lake County Forest Preserves

1 comment:

  1. The mules pulling the harvester is impressive on a postcard. What an awesome sight it must've been in its day.


Thank you for your comment. Someone will confirm your comment and post it.