FARMING 19TH CENTURY TO PRESENT
Agriculture has been the most important activity in America from the 1600’s to the present but is rapidly declining in economic importance in the 21st century. The farm equipment has improved drastically, from hand labor to gas and diesel machinery (Fite 1). In the 1860’s, farmers made up fifty-eight percent of the labor force (ARS). The agriculture business was the foundation of the west.
The most common farm tools used in the 19th century were made from wood and metal strips. These tools were used by hand labor or pulled by a strong workhorse (Fite 1). Most of the farmers went to a near town and purchased a few slaves for a good price. Slaves were the main farm workers in the north until the end of the Civil War. They would do the farmers hard work for little, or no pay. Due to the end of slavery the blacks were able to become shareowners on several farms. They were granted their freedom, as well the right to own and harvest their own land (Duane 156).
One hot invention in the 1800’s was the harvesting machine and thresher. The harvesting machine was created by an American inventor searching for an easier way to cut down the grain stalks. This young inventor’s name was Cyrus McCormick, and this machine was built in 1824. The thresher was a machine, capable of separating the grain from the head. This was created by two brothers in 1836, but wasn’t used much until the
early 1900’s. Later in the 20th century an inventor came up with the idea to combine the harvesting machine with the thresher. He called this invention the combine after his great thought. This combine was able to do both of the last two machines jobs, this helped shorten the harvesting time period and labor needed (Duane 156).
A man named John Deere invented the first steel plow. He was a blacksmith in the state of Illinois. This was done in the 1830’s. This was made because the earlier v...