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An extensive English farmer, Mr. Peter Love, of Northamptonshire, who has had in use upon his farm American plows, for several years, published an article soon after the trial of plows at Hounslow, upon the proper manner of plowing, in which he strikingly exhibits the difference between the English and American plows, and the superiority of the manner in which our plows do their work, breaking in pieces the furrow slices, as he suggests it should be done.
Mr. Love remarks—« If it be the fact that the primary object of cultivation for the production of the various agricultural crops is a well pulverized soil and porous subsoil, then the farmer ought to draw out the ingenuity of our agricultural mechanics, by giving prizes for those plows that will invert and break in pieces the soil without smearing the under strata, and most effectually pulverize the greatest quantity of land a given depth with the least amount of power, instead, as the present practice is by all our agricultural societies, awarding prizes to those plows that cutout a furrow with all three of its cut sides well smoothed and smeared up, and turned over in as unbroken a state as possible, so that it will shine from one end to the other like a well moulded piece of concrete, and the bottom of the furrow well polished over by the friction of the broad-soled land-side and wrest, thus rendering the under strata almost impervious either to air or water; indeed, it is no uncommon thing to see land that has been well drained, as well as that which is naturally dry, dressed up in a suit of corduroy, so as to leave the furrows frequent enough to allow the rain that falls to fertilize the earth, an opportunity of washing away all the virtues of the manure that has been applied, to the nearest river.
“ If we could have a plow so made that it would, in the act of inverting the furrow slice, break it into pieces, and pass over the bottom of the furrow without the friction of any smooth surface of iron or other material being drawn over, closing up all the pores and fissures in the under strata, I think there is little doubt that such a plow's cultivation would approach, when performed at equal depths, fork cultivation.
"Let all farmers of those countries who go to the Great Exhibi tion unprejudicially, look carefully into the merits and demerits of the various plows used in these and other nations, and inquire why there are such differences in the conformation of the different parts, of, not only the plows used in the different districts of these countries, but in those of other nations, where there are, I may say daily, some of our practical farmers settling; and yet they adopt the use of the plows of that country, and we know by experience that in the majority of instances of farmers leaving one county for another, in these countries, they take their plows with them, and, in not a few cases, they are found superior to those in general use in that locality. It would appear that these foreign plows are so constructed that they can plow up the prejudices of our brother farmers, (who have been obliged to depart with the wreck of their fortunes to the Far West, after experiencing some severe lessons in the school of economy,) or else we would have many instances of some of them sending here for plows and using them after they are taken there, but it is a well known fact that those who take plows with them in but few cases use them at all; and if used, it is but for a very short time, as the comparative merits of the state of the land at sowing-day satisfies the prejudices against those plows used in the new country. And after a few weeks' growth of the crop, the most prejudiced are convinced by the superior appearance in the more full development of crop, especially in a dry season.” This I received in answer to a letter written to a brother who is in the Far West and who was a prize plowman before he went there and who was one of the great promoters of the fine, clean, well-smoothed-up furrow slice system.”
These very judicious remarks of Mr. Love show the difference between our system of plowing and the English, and the advantages which would result from the use of our plows; and which was evident at the trial, so far as the pulverization of the soil and a porous subsoil was concerned.
But a most satisfactory evidence of the adaptation of our plows to the work required there, resulted from a trial of one of Star
buck’s Troy plows, with a single horse, in the same field, with the same width and depth of furrow, as was required on the trial. An English farmer made the trial himself. The plow was drawn by one of the large English farm horses, with entire ease, and when he had plowed so as to satisfy all present, that one horse would do the work, even in soil of the kind we were engaged in at the trial, it was remarked by many of the persons present, that “that is the plow the English farmer wants.” This plow was sold on the ground, and ten more were ordered in the very same neighborhood, and a very large number have since been sent to England as well as the Continent, “as the American plows found great favor among the English farmers, on account of their extraordinary cheapness and lightness of draught.”
Owing to the weather, which was very soft, the rain falling most of the time, the plows were not tested by the Dynamometer until a subsequent day, and the following is the statement of the trial, reported by Baron Mertens, on behalf of the Sub-jury, consisting of Baron Mertens, Col. Challoner and B. P. Johnson:
2. American, . Hall & Spears, 530 Land hard. 3. English,.... Busby, 540 Land worked well. 4. French, .... Bodin, 5. Holland, ... Jenken, 6. Belgian, ... Delstanche, 568 No plowman to use this well. 7. English,.... Howard,... 569 Hard land. 8. American, . Prouty&Mears 579 9. French,.... Talbot,
580 10. English,.... Ball,
646 Very hard ground ; very good
furrow. 11. do .... Ransoms&May 659 (Very hard piece of land.
The ground on which the trial was had was very hard and stubborn, and the average power of draught was high.
It may not be uninteresting to give the opinions of the English farmers as to our plows after they had been tried, and in use in England, which appeared, since the exhibition, in the proceedings of a farmers' club, in the very same journal which had said “ that they reminded them of the prints of plows that were used several hundred years ago.” The subject for discussion before the Torrington Farmers' Club was “Agricultural Implements and Horses." In the course of the discussion the heavy implements, carts, &c., in use in England, were the subjects of remark, and one gentleman, Mr. Lear, said, as in contrast to their heavy implements: “I will just draw your attention to the American plows, which perhaps most of you have seen at the exhibition. That they have been pretty well ridiculed, I know; but that does not detract at all from their value; and I am inclined to think that they are well adapted for the work they are intended for. The turn-furrow is exceedingly well shaped, and in fact it is a business looking thing altogether.” Another gentleman, Mr. Battock, says: “Mr. Lear had spoken of the American plow seen at the exhibition, but if they had any inclination to inspect one of those plows they might see one at Maj. Sandham's brick yard, and also some work it had performed. He (Mr. B.) was perfectly satisfied of its usefulness on light soils for preparing the Barley and Turnip
It required but one horse to draw it!. (Hear, hear. That's the sort we want.) He was aware this could not be done on heavy stubborn land, (with one horse,) but for the purpose he had mentioned it appeared to him an excellent article.”
REAPING MACHINES.—The favorable results of the trial of the plows, called more especially the attention of the public who visited the exhibition, to the value of the American Implements. On the return of the plows to the Palace, the one upon which the award was placed, as well as the others, excited much interest, and the reaping machines, which were soon to be tried, excited far more attention than before. The impression now seemed to prevail that these American Implements may, after all, do what has been promised.
TRIAL OF THE REAPERS AT TIP-TREE HALL.-Succeeding the trial of the plows came that of the Reapers, on the 24th of July. There were three machines on exhibition. McCormick's Virginia Reaper, Hussey's American Reaper, and an English Reaper, made after Hussey's, but which, I believe, had not been tried. The place selected for trial was at Tip-tree Hall, Kelvedon, Essex, the farm of Mr. J. J. Mechi, about forty-five miles from town. The day selected was the annual gathering of gentlemen at the farm of Mr. Mechi to inspect his crops and method of farming, which is exciting much interest in England. The day proved a very unfavorable one, as it rained during the whole day. The wheat upon which the trial was to be made was quite green and remarkably heavy, and everything as unfavorable as could well be. There were from 150 to 200 gentlemen present, many of whom had come upwards of 300 miles to witness the trial.
The Sub-jury assigned to conduct the trial was composed of Colonel Challoner, one of the English Jurors, Baron Merten d'. Ostins, of Belgium, and B. P. Johnson, United States, and W. Fisher Hobbs, Esq., though not a member of the Jury, was present by invitation, at the trial, The first machine tried was Hussey's, which did not succeed, as it clogged very soon, and passed over the grain without cutting it. After this had been tried two or three times and failed, it was proposed by one of the Jurors that no further trial be made by the Reapers—but it was insisted that the other American Reaper should be tried. The gentlemen present expected it, and I was not willing they should leave the ground without satisfying those present that the American Reapers would perform the work which it had been affirmed they could do. Mr. McCormick's Reaper was then brought up, managed by D. C. McKenzie, of Livingston county, in this State, who is entitled to no little credit for the successful result of the trial. This was a moment, as may well be imagined, of no ordinary interest. One reaper had not operated as was expected-another, and the only remaining American reaper to be tried, was now to be tested. The gentlemen present were anxious that something should succeed that would cheapen the gathering of their crops--but from expres