Plough, in agriculture, a machine for breaking or turning up the soil, by the draught of cattle ; and which, in general, consists of a train or carriage, furnished with two large irons (the one being pointed, while the other has a sharp edge), that serve both to cut or open, and also to draw furrows in the land.
Ye generous Britons venerate the Plough,
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
No implement has more essentially contributed to the comforts of mankind than the plough; for,without this contrivance, much time, labour, and expence, would be wasted, in digging the ground, and preparing it for the reception of seed. Hence, ingenious men have invented a variety of ploughs, many of which are at present employed by British farmers ; but, as a detail of their various Constituent parts (however interesting to agricultural readers), would exceed our limits, we shall confine our attention to an account of such machines as deserve more particular notice.
The Rotherham-Plough is too well known to require any description of its various parts : its simplicity, together with the facility of its draught, have recommended it in preference to the unwieldy machines formerly used in Scotland, and various parts of England.— This valuable implement has, within a few years, been reduced in size, and otherwise improved, by Mr. Small, of Rosebank; who, we understand, obtained a patent for his contrivance. In its present state, the wood-work is composed of ash or elm; and the plough differs from that commonly used, chiefly in the bridle, with which it is furnished at the end of the beam : this enables the ploughman to give the implement a more effectual power of action, and also by means of certain holes that are made in the beam, to cut the soil to a greater or less depth, as occasion may require. Another peculiarity that distinguishes the Rotherham from the common plough, consists in the coulter and share, which are so constructed, and fixed, as to cut off the new furrow, without tearing it. Lastly, according to Mr. Small's plan,the mould-board, being a plate of cast-iron, is so curved as to make less resistance to th earth turned up, and consequently requires a smaller force to draw it, than the common ploughs ; while the furrow is gradually laid over to its proper position.—This plough is not provided with wheels; is light and convenient ; it costs, we believe, from 40 to 50s.; and deserves to be introduced into the southern counties.
The Kentish Turn-wrest Plough consists of an oak beam, about ten feet in length, five inches in depth, and four inches in breadth ; to the end of which is tenoned a foot, or piece of timber (31/2 feet long, 4 inches thick, and 3 1/2 inches broad) that is mortised at the bottom, to the end of the chep. The handles are fixed on the top of the beam, through which, at the distance of two feet five inches from the foot, is passed a sheath of oak, seven inches in width, and an inch and a half thick, being mortised into the chep in an oblique direction, so that the point of the share will be two feet ten inches asunder from the beam. The chep is five feet in length, four inches in width, and five deep : to this is fixed the share, which weighs about 32 lbs. and is manufactured of hammered iron, being one foot eight inches in length, and from four and a half to seven inches wide at the point. The upper end of the beam is supported on a carriage, furnished with two wheels, that are three feet two inches in height; on the axle-tree of which a gallows is placed, and provided with a sliding bolster, for the purpose of raising or lowering the machine. A clasp-iron likewise enters through the axle, to which a strong chain, or a tow passing over the beam, is fixed in such a manner, that the plough may, by means of notches, or a pin known under the riame of a cheek, be let out to a greater length from the axle ; arid will consequently penetrate more deeply into the earth.
We have been induced to give this description of the Kentish Plough, because it is an instrument of great strength, and eminently calculated for rocky and hilly countries, as it turns, the soil to a considerable depth, laying it perfectly level, without making any furrow, or opening; a circumstance of equal advantage and importance, in dry situations.—The price of the whole, with its tackle complete for drawing, is computed to be about five guineas.
A valuable implement has very lately been introduced into the county of Lancaster, by Mr. Duckett, jun.—-It is denominated a Trench-plough, and furnished with two shares, one being directly over the other, so that one narrow superficial furrow may be drawn from the surface of the soil, while another, at a moderate depth, is taken off beneath. This machine is well adapted for ploughing-in green crops, or long dung, by way of manure ; and, if the surface of the soil befoul, it may be turned under, and fresh soil brought up', from the depth of 10 inches, by employing three horses. The earth being thus loosened, the roots of plants are enabled to strike downwards Without any impediment; and, while the land is drained, and exposed to the influence of the air, it is thereby considerably improved.
The Scalp-plough, or Extirpator, as it is generally termed, was lately invented by Mr. Hay warp, of Stoke-Ash, in the county of Suffolk. Its beam is seven feet in length, and is furnished with two handles. The shares are eight inches broad, nine in length, and are fixed to stalks, about ten inches in height, and eleven inches asunder. Such implement may be adapted to the wheels of a common -plough, arid will penetrate the soil to a greater or less depth, in a similar manner. The object of this contrivance is, the eradication of weeds, and the clearing of ploughed lands for seed ; in which respect it is said to be more serviceable than any other instrument. Before the extirpator is employed, the soil ought to be once ploughed ; and, if it have lain fallow during a summer, the scalp is passed over it twice; namely, the first time about two inches deep, and the next, in a transverse direction, at the depth of about four inches. This operation, together with harrowing the ground once, will not only destroy all weeds, but will pulverize and prepare the soil for" the reception of seed, whether drilled, or broad-cast. Farther, if lands, intended for the production of spring-crops, be ploughed in autumn, and the extirpator be afterwards passed over them, they will be rendered fit for immediate sowing.—:This machine may be drawn either by two or by three horses, according to the nature of the soil, and the depth required: it possesses the peculiar advantage, that it may be; worked on all arable lands, by any person capable of directinga plough, and that it will turn over all acre of ground, in one hour, without fatiguing either horses or oxen.— Should the soil, "however, be overrun with weeds; it will be advisable! to plough it with the scalp, twice; and, in some cases, three times; a short space Being allowed D to intervene, with a view to deprive the weeds of their vegetating power.
Among the most valuable implements that have, within a few years, been constructed and adopted in this country, is the Beverstone Plough, designed, or at least improved, by the ingenious Mr. Lewin Tugwell, of Beverstone, in the county of Gloucester. The following cut and description will afford a distinct idea of its mechanism :
Dimensions of the Beverstone
A to B
C —D - -
D — E
Diameter of the wheel
D to F
E — I
K - L - -
Breadth at the heel
Breadth of the fin
Top of beam at the heel
to the ground
The mould-board projects
at the top more than the
breadth at the heel -
1; to 3
3—5 - -
7-6 - -
1 — 8
1 to 9 - - 4 8
From the heel to the tuck-hole of the share - 2 6 1/2 From the tuck-hole to the point of the share 0 8 1/2
This excellent machine, which considerably varies from the Rother-ham, and other valuable ploughs, gained the prize at the ploughing-match in 1798, held near Pipers-Inn, Somersetshire, under the patronage of the Bath and West of England Society. It may be easily worked by a pair of oxen, without a driver; and, on account of its simplicity, we believe that the representation, above given, will be sufficient to guide a skilful carpenter, in the construction of a similar implement.
The Double, or Two-furrow Swing and Wheel-Plough, demands the attention of every enlightened agriculturist : we have therefore subjoined the following representation, copied from the 2d vol. of Communications to the Board of Agriculture:
This machine, we understand, was originally invented by Mr Duckett, but has lately been materially improved by the patriotic Lord Somerville. The construction of the beam is nearly the same as that of the Beverstone Plough ; which his Lordship (in his Address to the Board, in 1798) acknow-ledges to have adopted, from a consciousness of his inability to substitute another more adapted to the purpose. The chief and most important improvement relates to the mould-board, one end of which was formerly cut off, and the deficiency supplied by driving in wedges, to the consequent injury of the mould-plate. As this expedient, however, was attended with much trouble, it was generally omitted; and, consequently, the land imperfectly tilled. With a view to remedy such inconvenience, Lord S. proposes (after the mould-board is formed, and the plate is fitted in the usual manner) to cut off the parts marked a , in the delineation before communicated, and to connect them again with the fixed part of the board, by means of flat hinges, or of thin, flexible plates of hard-hammered iron ;j so that those parts may be easily set to have different inclinations with such fixed part, by the aid of two screws that pass from the inside through the lower parts of the handle of the plough, opposite to the backs of the moveable pieces a, a. The screws, he observes, may be so regulated as to keep such pieces at any degree of inclination that may be required, according to the nature of the land intended to be broken up.
The Two-furrow Plough is best adapted to light, and level soils, particularly for stirring ley-grounds', and, as these cannot be laid too flat, or seed-earths be turned too
D much on an edge, the plough may be adapted to either purpose with the utmost facility, by this improvement of the mould-board. When the moveable parts, above alluded to, are screwed outwards, a proportionate convexity or elevation will be left at the base of the furrow ; and thus moreearth will beex-posed for covering the seed. Lastly, as the part of .the mould-plate.mark-ed with the dotted lines C C, is most liable to wear off by repeated friction, Lord Somerville directs it to be made twice as thick as the a, a, a the screws that advance or withdraw the moveable mould-.plate. b. b, the moveable plate.
c, c, ribs, which serve to strengthen the plates.
d grooves, sunk in the mould-board for the reception of the ribs-, when the mould-plate is withdrawn.
Lord S. observes, that ' the principle, of this moveable plate may not at first catch the attention of every reader; but it deserves to be generally adopted, and has indeed met with strong advocates in ploughmen ; for it not only relieves their right arm of considerable labour, that must otherwise be performed in wedging and. hamother parts of the plate ; viz. double " the thickness of a new crown-piece," or about one-fourth of an inch ; in which case it will remain unimpaired, nearly as long as the whole of the machinery.
The chief improvement made by Lord Somerville being in the mould-plate of his useful plough, we have subjoined two figures, representing its internal structure, in different points of view, by which its mechanism may be more clearly understood.
mering mould-plates ; but much exertion is also saved to the right leg, in attempting to tread those furrows fiat, which had been left on an edge by the plough. Lastly, these plates are indispensably necessary, in order to qualify two-furrow ploughs for all broad work, and particularly breaking up leys; and such implements ought (in the technical phrase) to work on their own base, close at heel; as otherwise the furrow will be irregularly laid; and they will be immediately " thrown out of work."
Before we conclude the account of this valuable contrivance, it is but justice to state the result of a trial made at Kew, in March 1799, on His Majesty's Farm, in conse quence of a challenge given to Lord Somerville. The quantity of land, till then in a state of nature, amounted to 17 1/2 statute acres, and was worked by this implement, four Devonshire oxen (six years old), and a man, with a boy as driver, in six days and four hours. The cattle were in good condition when they commenced the task ; after the accomplishment of which, they appeared in better order than before. They were allowed no corn; consumed every day, upon an average, about 40lbs. of hay, during their continuance at Kew; and worked eight hours each day, including half an hour for bait.— The land, thus tilled, was viewed by many gentlemen and able agriculturists, who highly approved of it, and were induced to order numbers of these ploughs; which, we trust, will soon be generally adopted.
The two-furrow plough has, Indeed, been introduced into some of the midland counties, where it is employed with five horses and one man, in tolerably level soils, which it divides as effectually as two single ploughs.—It is also used, together with the single-wheel plough, in Staffordshire ; as it requires only a lad to drive the horses, and to turn the plough at the end of the furrow.—For breaking up the turf, an iron flay is screwed to the coulter; by which the sward is cut off, and turned into the furrow, so as to be co-vered with earth. Thus, by the aid of an additional horse, the soil will resemble a fallow, and may be harrowed with equal facility.
The latest British plough, which merits particular notice, is that invented by Mr. J. Turner, jun. of Bockleton, Warwickshire; and of which the following figure will convey an accurate idea :
A, The iron at the end of the beam, to which the horses are hooked; hooked; and which is called, in Staffordshire, the luck; in the county of Worcester, the far. B,B,B,B,B, The beam. W,W,W,W,W, A strong piece of wood, denominated by the inventor a wing, that projects in the middle; and in which one of the coulters C, is fixed. This piece of timber is fastened, at a proper distance from the ear, to the side of the beam, by means of long screws passing throughout the latter ; with the opposite side of which they connect another wing, containing a second coulter, likewise marked with the letter C.—These two coulters are placed in a parallel direction, and are both strengthened with a piece of iron, called the stay; one end of which is fixed about two inches beneath the wing, and the other is inserted in the wing itself represents the, whole stay of the coulter C; and f delineates part of the other coulter C.
T, denotes part of the drock, a Piece bf wood, that forms the lower extremity of the plough; and which is about six inches in width, three depth', and rather more than two feet in length.—To the top of the drock is fastened an erect piece of timber, known by the name of spindle: M, M ; and behind which are two tails, D d.—To the upper end of the spindle M, is fixed the beam B, the end of which is fastened between the tails, by means of an iron pin.
P, I, and P, R, are two shelve-boards, combined with the drock and spindle ; and which meet at the angular point P. The ends of both these boards are strengthened by means of a short wooden stay, that is fixed in -them, as well as.in the tails: g, represents this stay.
K, a coulter fastened to the plough-share S, and which is bent at the end, in order that it may be more easily admitted 'through a hole in the beam, behind the two coulters C, C, when the share is put on the end of the drock.
The object of this contrivance is the formation of small drains or gutters in meadows, and pasture-land, with a view to carry off stagnant waters : which, by remaining on the surface, materially injure the soil.—To adjust the plough for work, a mark is first made in the middle of that end of the drock, which is contiguous to the tails; when a straight line is traced on a level spot of ground, on which such mark and the point of the share are put, and made to coincide. Next, the fore-coulters must be equi-distant from the line; then let the dotted line b, y, p, n, represent a straight line made on level ground ; p, the point of the share S ; in, the middle point of the end of the drock T; and, if m and p correspond with the line b, y,p, n, xy, and dt, will describe the distance from each of the fore-coulters.
The most effectual method of working this plough is, in the opi-. nion of its inventor, to fasten a chain round the axle-tree of a pair of cart-wheels (the body of which has been taken off) ; to hook such chain to the ear A, at the end of the beam ; and, by lengthening or shortening the chain, this machine may be so regulated as to penetrate the soil to a greater or less depth, according to the nature of the ground.—When the plough is at work, the fore-coulters C, C, cut the outside of the gutter.—K, the coulter, divides the ground exactly in the middle ; the farther shelveboard throws out half the soil on one side, while the near shelve-board removes the other half to the opposite side; and thus a complete gutter is left, which extends from eight to ten inches in width, and is from six to eight inches deep.
One of the most important advantages resulting from this invention, is the saving in manual labour, which is computed at three-fourths ; as 400 perches of land may thus be drained in one day, by a team of five horses, two drivers, and a holder; the expenee of which, the inventor calculates at l6s.; whereas, if the same quantity of land were to be dug by hand, the cost would amount to 31. 6s. 8d.
Mr. Turner's Plough may be applied to another valuable branch of agriculture ; namely, the planting of potatoes. His method is as follows: First, trendies are made with the machine, at the distance of about two feet from each other; and in which the potatoes are set. Some manure is next spread on them in such trenches,and they are covered by drawing the plough through the intermediate spaces ; to that each trench is filled by a ridge of soil. When the growing potatoes require an additional covering of mould, the weeds are previously cut, either by a hoe or weeding-hook ; and, the two fore-coulters being taken off the plough, the implement is drawn between the ridges ; it throws up an additional portion of soil upon them ; and thus expeditiously effects the operation of moulding.
Beside these, now described, several other ploughs have been contrived for particular purposes; but, having already given an account of the most valuable improvements, under the heads of Draining, and, Drilling, we shall conclude the present article with a description (extracted from M. Simonde's " Tableau de L Agriculture Tos-cane," 8vo. Geneva, 1801) of two ploughs, that are used in Tuscany, as well as in other parts of Italy ; and which, from the simplicity of their construction, deserve to be more generally known in Britain.
The first is denominated the Greater Tuscan Plough: the sock is an iron plate, somewhat concave, which is from eight to nine inches, both in breadth and in length; it is sharpened on every side so as to divide the soil in an horizontal direction, and with great ease. The coulter is perpendicular upon the angle of the sock ; and a moveable board (versoir) .is placed flat over the chep, in such a manner as to form a continuation of the sock, and to pass under the clod which the latter has raised : but, as it describes a curve on the side opposite to that of the coulter, it deviates from the line, and is turned upside-down, together with the soil which it has received. The implement, thus constructed, meets with the smallest possible resistance in working the ground; its sock divides the earth with a facility equal to that of a common spade; and, as its motion is continued, it acquires greater power of action than the latter: — the coulter also, being vertical, passes on with less difficulty than such as are always in an inclined position, .Lastly, the Italian mould-board being flat, receives the soil from the sock, which it turns over to the side, without increasing the resistance encoun tered by the implement, in consequence of this secondary operation.
The Lesser Tuscan Plough, of which the following representation will afford a tolerably distinct idea,
is lighter, and more diminutive in all its dimensions, than the preceding. Its sock is of a similar shape, but the coulter is perpendicular beneath its beam, between the course of the sock; and, instead of the mould-board (of which this machine is destitute), its broad chep is formed in the shape of a plane (do-loire, so as to turn the earth equally on both sides. In order to work the plough, the labourer conduits it between each border (plate-landc), which he divides at a single stroke, thrusting the soil of either side towards the furrow of the pre-cedingyear: and, while the latter is nearly filled up, he forms the trench, which is to continue open during the next season ; so that the soil is alternately stirred, according to the system of Mr. TuLL ; being sown one year, and serving as a furrow in the subsequent.— This alternation is delineated in the foremost of the two lines, in the cut above annexed; where the lines represent the ground previously to its being ploughed ; and the points or dots, its external form, after such operation.
The plough enters at a a, dividing each border,- and, in throwing up the soil equally on both sides, it forms the small elevations b, c.— Thus, the field presents alternately, after ploughing, two ridges adjoining to each other, and then a furrow. Next, the labourer passes a small square harrow over these elevations, which he levels ; while the furrow remains untouched, as represented by the second of the lines in the cut last referred to; and the soil is thus ultimately prepared for sowing.
The agricultural reader will observe, from the construction of these implements, that they are not calculated for working stiff clays; clays; as the ground cannot be entirely removed, and some part must even remain untouched. But, in the rich friable soils of Tuscany, the smaller plough is a most useful instrument; for, in that country, the least effort is sufficient to divide and pulverize the land: we have been induced to communicate the figure above-mentioned,chiefly on account of its simplicity, and as there are similar soils in the Southern parts of Britain; where, we conceive, the Italian ploughs may be advantageously employed.-r-Lastly, the deep furrows, that remain in the ground after it has been ploughed, present a greater surface to the action of the sun and air; a circumstance materially conducing to its improvement.
We have here given an extensive view of the subject, on account of its national importance.—Justice, however, impels us to mention another contrivance, for ascertaining the force necessary in the draught of various ploughs. It was presented to the public by Mr. More, the late ingenious Secretary to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc.: it consists or a spring coiled within a. cylindrical case, which is furnished with a dial-plate numbered in a manner similar to that of a clock ; and which is so constructed, that the band moves in consequence of the motion of the spring, and points to the numbers according to the force exerted : thus, if the draught be equal to one cwt. over a pulley, the hand will be directed towards figure I; when the draught equals two cwt. it points to figure 2; and continues to increase, or diminish, its progress in proportion to the exertions made.
Various experiments were conducted under the inspection of the Society, when the accuracy of this machine was fully evinced ; a detailed account of which is inserted in the first volume of Annals of Agriculture: where the different results are minutely recorded.