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Inventions that Changed Agriculture

written by: Tony Smejek•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 6/10/2010

Check out this exciting article about farming inventions that have changed agriculture! We take so much mechanical advancements for granted, and if you think about it, where would we be without these wonderful agricultural inventions?

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    Things have come far since the good old days of farming, we have gone from the old-fashioned disk and plow to the common tractor and other farm equipment of today. Now, today's current farm and agricultural equipment has taken the burden, blisters, and broken back out of the picture with the current comforts of farming. The nventions that have changed agriculture make a huge difference.

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    I'll Have Some More Cotton With My Gin

    A significant agricultural invention that first comes to mind was the cotton gin, patented by Eli Whitney in 1794, this device sorted out seeds, stems, hulls and other items from the cotton itself. This device made a huge difference in saving hundreds of man hours of sorting these items. There had been seed and cotton separation devices already in use, but none that provided the automation and efficiency as did the cotton gin.

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    Look Ma! I'm Milking with No Hands!

    Then there was the milking machine patented by Anna Baldwin in 1879 which replaced traditional hand milking. This device was a vacuum pump which was operated by hand. It was one of America's earliest patents, however it wasn't as much of a success as some milking machines which gained popularity in 1870. The earliest milking devices actually forced small tubes up the holes of a cows utter causing the milk to just flow through into the collection device.

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    The Introduction of the Plow

    Then there's the ever popular and common plow. The inventor of this agricultural invention that was put to practical use was Charles Newbold of New Jersey. Apparently this cast-iron plow, according to other farmers, somehow caused growth of weeds. Later, John Deere improved upon the design of the plow. His plows were of cast steel and greatly helped the Great Plains farmers. These were efficient and cut through the toughest of soils to allow for planting of crops. It could cut through sticky soil without clogging up. They were self polishing plows and were an improvement over the cast iron ones.

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    Some Reapers Aren't All That Grim

    The piece of agricultural history that made a huge difference was the mechanical reaper. This farming invention, invented in July of 1831, saved harvesters a lot of back breaking work. Cyrus McCormick was the one to thank for liberating farm workers with this modern marvel, well modern by their standards. It was massed produced in a Chicago factory in 1847. Its function was to cut standing grains of wheat by using a revolving wheel would sweep that cut pieces into a platform causing it to gather in a nice pile where workers could just simply rake the gathered pieces into piles.

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    Why Tractors Are Sexy!

    Finally, and the moment all you people in the agricultural professionals are all wondering about, the tractor! As a tourist, if you have been traveling through the countryside and see that big orange triangle in your face and end up stuck moving only five mph in a no passing zone, then you'll know what I'm talking about. You could probably think of tractors as the replacement for the “need for steed". The term “tractor" came from the kind of engined that was designed for its function, the traction engine. Charter, the company that used gasoline successfully as a fuel source, designed such an engine for the use of said farm invention.

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    All in all, you could say we've come along way to increase efficiency when it comes to high tech farm inventions and with the rise in the need for food and other agricultural resources along with the increasing population, they have proven to be quite useful.