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The Agricultural Revolution

Introduction to the Agricultural Revolution

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American farmers - 1880

American farmers - 1880

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Between the eighth century and the eighteenth, the tools of farming basically stayed the same and few advancements in technology were made.

The farmers of George Washington's day had no better tools than had the farmers of Julius Caesar's day; in fact, early Roman plows were superior to those in general use in America eighteen centuries later.

What Was the Agricultural Revolution?

The agricultural revolution was a period of agricultural development between the 18th century and the end of the 19th century, which saw a massive and rapid increase in agricultural productivity and vast improvements in farm technology.

Listed below are many of the inventions that were created or greatly improved during the agricultural revolution.

Plow & Moldboard

By definition a plow (also spelled plough) is a farm tool with one or more heavy blades that breaks the soil and cut a furrow (small ditch) for sowing seeds. A moldboard is the wedge formed by the curved part of a steel plow blade that turns the furrow.

Seed Drills

Seed drills sow seeds, before drills were invented seeding was done by hand. The basic ideas in drills for seeding small grains were successfully developed in Great Britain, and many British drills were sold in the United States before one was manufactured in the States. American manufacture of these drills began about 1840. Seed planters for corn came somewhat later, as machines to plant wheat successfully were unsuited for corn planting. In 1701, Jethro Tull invented his seed drill and is perhaps the best known inventor of a mechanical planter.

Machines That Harvest - Sickles, Reapers, & Harvesters

By definition a sickle is a curved, hand-held agricultural tool used for harvesting grain crops. Horse drawn mechanical reapers later replaced sickles for harvesting grains. Reapers developed into and was replaced by the reaper-binder (cuts grain and binds it in sheaves), which was in turn was replaced by the swather and then the combine harvester. The combine harvester is a machine that heads, threshes and cleans grain while moving across the field.

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