Thomas MacDonald The son of John and Sarah Elizabeth Harris MacDonald was native to Leadville, Colorado. During his childhood he received his education at elementary and high school at public schools in Montezuma, Iowa after his family moved to Iowa. His father owned lumber and grain dealerships, which required transportation of grain and lumber on horse drawn wooden wagons. The poor state of the roads, which were impassable for much of the year, disgusted him. He attended college Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts. He studied road building and became involved in the Good Roads movement after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1904. He married he married Elizabeth Dunham in 1907. The couple would have two children. He received appointment as the Assistant in Charge of Good Roads Investigation in Iowa that year. He became Iowa’s head civil engineer in 1913 and played an instrumental role in the passage of the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916. Congress appointed him as the head of the Bureau of Public Roads on July 1, 1919. He would remain at the head of the bureau until his retirement in 1953. During his tenure he was the chief architect of the highway system in the United States. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 was his innovation. He supervised the construction of 3.5 million miles of highways and helped lay the foundation for Eisenhower’s U.S. Interstate Highway System
Sample Chapter Short History of Roads and Highways Charles Brady King (February 2, 1868 – June 22, 1957) The son of John Haskell and Matilda C. Davenport King, Charles was native to Angel Island, California. His father had served as a general during the American Civil War. When John retired from the Army in 1882, the family moved to Detroit, where Matilda’s family lived. King attended Trinity College in Port Hope, Ontario for two years, after which he enrolled in the Cascadilla School in Ithaca, New York. In 1887 he entered Cornell University until his father passed away in 1888. After his father’s death, he returned to Detroit. He took a job at a railroad car manufacturing company, the Michigan Car Company. He attended the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 to exhibit the pneumatic hammer and brake beam that he had invented for use on railroad cars. During the exhibition, he saw a horseless carriage built by Gottlieb Daimler. He was inspired to build his own horseless carriage. First Car in Detroit In his spare time, King designed and built what many think is the first car in Detroit. King spent the next few years building the car and tested it in private from 1895 until he officially unveiled it on March 6, 1896. It was during this time that he helped organize the first automobile club in the United States, the American Motor League. He drove the car in a circuit around downtown Detroit, which many feel was the first horseless carriage in Detroit and possibly the state of Michigan. Joined Early Automobile Companies King joined the Olds Motor Works sometime around 1900, but only stayed there for a short time. He next joined the Northern Manufacturing Company, where he designed many of the cars manufactured by that company. He started his own automobile company, the King Motor Car Company, in 1910. Always the innovator, King designed the first American car with left hand steering and the first practical V-8 engine. He left the company in 1912. Other Endeavors In addition to being an innovative automobile designer and manufacturer, King was also a poet, architect, painter, musician and yachtsman. He founded the forerunner of the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, an organization called the Automobile Old Timers in 1939. Henry Ford, who had witnessed King’s first ride in 1896, received help from King when he built his first horseless carriage. He also mentored Ransom E. Olds and other early automobile manufacturers. He helped design and build a yacht, the Lady Frances, which featured many new innovations. His other inventions included jackhammer, the lubricated pulley system, and the car steering gear.
Short History of Roads and Highways Description: From the first rude ridge ways to the modern interstate superhighway, the evolution of the road is a fascinating story. Readers will learn the progression of roads from the first ridge ways, roads in the ancient world, Roman roads and the development of the revolutionary McAdam Road. Native Americans developed an extensive system of trails for both trade and war. The pioneers used parts of these trails to forge the first traces that penetrated the interior of the developing United States. Readers can also follow the progression of the United States highway system from the first named highways to the modern interstate system first established in the late 1950’s. Visit Mossy Feet Books on Facebook
Other Books in the Series:Short History of Libraries, Printing and Language Short History of Fire Fighting Short History of Roads and Highways Short History of Railroads Short History of the Discoverers Short History of Gardening and Agriculture Short History of Public Parks Short History of Political Parties A Short History of Traditional Crafts Table of Contents Introduction Evolution of Road Building Materials Historic Roads Native Roads and Wildlife roads in North America Old Pioneer Roads Post Road from Madison Portland, Maine, to Savannah, Georgia The 1807 Gallatin Plan The Bonus Bill – 1817 The American System 1820 Maysville Turnpike Act of 1827 Panic of 1837 Named Highways Good Roads Movement Office of Road Inquiry American Motor League The Horseless Age American Automobile Association Office of Public Roads Questions Over Constitutionality of Federal Road Construction American Association of State Highway Officials Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 1919 Military Caravan Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 Pershing Map Uniform Signage Introduced United States Highway Numbering System Approved Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938 German Autobahns Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 Federal-aid Highway Act of 1956 Classifications of Roads
Sample Chapter Short History of Railroads Railway switch patented by Charles Fox 1832 – Railway switch patented by Charles Fox Before the railway switch, railroads used a device called wagon turnplates or a sliding rail. Sliding Rail This device resembled the modern turntable used to turn locomotives around or move them to different tracks in a train yard. In the sliding rail, the track was mounted to a circular wheel that rotated around the center of the device. The wheel’s diameter was governed by the length of the wagon used on the railroad, or tramway. To switch the device, the horses pulled the wagon onto the turnplate and unhitched. A tramway employee then had to rotate the turnplate so the rails matched that of the track he wanted to switch it to. Then the horses were hitched and the wagon could move along the new route. This was a cumbersome process that limited wagon size to that of the diameter of the turnplate and limited the weight on the wagon. Mr. Fox’s invention changed this. The Rail Switch The rail switch, or railway points, employed a set of linked, tapering rails that are synchronized in movement. These moving rails can be moved into one of two positions, one that allows the train to go straight or another position that turns the train onto a divergent set of rails. In the days before electrically powered switches, a railroad employee still had to manually operate the switch; however the train remained moving as it crossed the switch. The rail switch could accommodate any length of locomotive or rolling stock. As railroads switched over from horse drawn wagons to steam driven locomotives the rail switch proved a much more versatile mechanism for switching engines. The turnplate survives, with many improvements, as a means of moving locomotives around in a train yard or turning an engine around.
Sample Chapter Short History of the Railroad Delaware and Hudson Canal Company Two states, New York and Pennsylvania passed laws in 1823 and 1826 authorizing the construction of a canal, primarily to transport anthracite coal from the Wurts’ mine in Pennsylvania from the Delaware to the Hudson River. Canal officials broke ground on July 13, 1825. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company opened for business in October 1828. The Pennsylvania assembly authorized the construction of a gravity railroad, owned by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company to transport the coal from the mine to the canal. Delaware and Hudson Gravity Railroad The Pennsylvania assembly authorized the construction of the April 8, 1826 on April 8, 1826. The railroad company tried the first steam locomotive to run in the United States, the Sourbridge Lion, on August 8, 1829. The name derived from the lion’s face that adorned the front of the locomotive. The Foster, Rastrick and Company of Sourbridge, England manufactured the locomotive earlier in the year. The company had transported the locomotive in parts from Liverpool to New York on the ship John Jay. It arrived sometime in June or July and was taken to West Point Foundry in New York where workers assembled it. They tested it at the foundry, igniting the curiosity of nearby people. After transporting the locomotive to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, company officials prepared it for its first demonstration run. The company had specified that the locomotive weigh no more than four tons, as they had constructed wooden tracks with iron strips fastened to them. The locomotive actually weighed in at over seven tons. The engine operated admirably doing its three mile test run on August 8 1829. However, it was far too heavy for the rails and was never used. Workers used the locomotive for parts. The Smithsonian Institute acquired the boiler and a few other parts, which was all that was left, and has it on display in Washington DC.
Description: The Short History of Railroads takes readers on a journey along the trail of the evolution of the railroad. Discover the role trains had in the transportation revolution that changed the world. Preview Chapter Preview Chapter 2 Buy Direct from Author
Other Books in the Series A History of the Transportation Revolution History of the Telephone A History of Time Short History of Libraries, Printing and Language Short History of Fire Fighting Short History of Gardening and Agriculture Short History of Railroads Short History of the Discoverers Short History of Roads and Highways Short History of Public Parks Short History of Political Parties A Short History of Traditional Crafts Short History of the Post Office A Short HIstory of Political Parties
Sample Chapter Short History of Gardening and Agriculture Steam Powered Farm Equipment Steam Engines Thomas Aveling modified a Clayton & Shuttleworth portable steam engine in 1859, creating a self propelled machine that ranks as one of the world’s first agricultural tractors. Aveling, and other tinkerers, experimented with the design of the machine over the next several years. By the beginning of the 1870’s the shape of the tractor had been developed. The familiar four wheeled design remained dominant for the next several decades. These tractors packed a lot power for tasks like plowing and threshing wheat. The main drawbacks were that they were slow, heavy and hard to maneuver. The heavy machines frequently broke bridges down. They took a skilled operator as if improperly operated they would explode causing death and injury. Thomas Aveling (September 11, 1824 – March 7, 1882) The son of Thomas Aveling and Ann Aveling, Thomas was native to Fenland District, Cambridgeshire, Great Britain. His father died when he was young, after which the family migrated to Hoo. There his mother married Rev. John D’Urban. His father apprenticed him to a local farmer, Edward Lake. Aveling married D’Urban’s daughter, Sarah. The couple would have six children. Aveling acquired a farm and operated a drainage tile business. In 1859 he modified a Clayton & Shuttleworth portable engine by attaching a long chain between he crankshaft of the engine and the rear axle. This machine became the nucleus of the traction engine that would evolve into the modern farm tractor. Many regard him as the “the father of the traction engine.” He invented the steam roller and, along with Richard Thomas Porter founded the Aveling & Porter Company to manufacture steam rollers. Threshing Machine The threshing machine performed the work of the flail in threshing wheat. The mechanized thresher separated wheat grain from the straw and chaff in a series of steps. The farmer first fed the bundles of straw into a hopper on the machine. The bundles went into the separator, which was a series of rapidly rotating blades. These blades tore the bundle apart by cutting the twine that held them together and beat the grains from the heads without crushing the grains. The wheat then passed through a series of successively smaller screens that separated the straw and chaff from the wheat grain. The grain fell into a hopper where it was measured and dumped in a sack. The straw and chaff blew onto a nearby straw stack. Threshing Rings The mechanical thresher first appeared in 1837 when Hiram A. and John A. Pitts, Winthrop, Maine patented a horse powered threshing machine. This machine remained basically unchanged when steam powered engines first began appearing on farms around the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The threshing machine cost about $4,000 at this time, a substantial sum of money that was out of range of most farmers. Generally, a group of about six to eight farmers pooled their resources and purchased a machine. They would then pay for maintanence costs of the machine as a group. Each farm furnished a team of horses for each 40 acres to be threshed. After the threshing season concluded, the farmers held a meeting to settle accounts and lay plans for the next year. The Women While the men worked the threshing machines the women cooked and served the meals. Generally, the women began preparing for the day a week or so ahead of time. Other farm wives in the ring came to help out. On threshing day, the women served three meals, a morning and afternoon lunch and dinner at noon. The lunches consisted of meat and cheese sandwiches, cookies, and lemonade or water. Dinner was usually pan-fried chicken, beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, salads, sliced tomatoes, green beans, corn and other garden vegetables, relishes and pickles, bread or biscuits, along with pies, cakes and puddings. The reader must bear in mind that the quantity of food consumed by a band of hungry men was immense and the women worked without the benefit of air conditioning, refrigeration or modern cooking ranges. They had to carry water into the kitchen from the well in buckets and cook on either wood or coal cook stoves. The Meals When the women signaled that the food was ready, the steam engine operator blew the whistle on the steam engine, signaling that work would stop. The men washed their hands at the well or wash basins the women had placed nearby. The women generally brought the food into the fields, or alternately, in a spot near the barn. They women served the food on long tables made from planks. They used china, silverware and glasses. If the farm was large and required more than one day to thresh the grain, this process would repeat until it was done. Typically, the other wives in the ring would help wash the dishes and silverware. At the conclusion of the meal, the steam operator blew the whistle, signaling that work was to begin again. Once one farm was done, the threshing crew moved to the next farm.
Preview Chapter Short History of Gardening and Agriculture Reaping Grain Cradle Reaper Also called the cradle scythe or grain cradle, this implement was an adaptation of the scythe. Developed sometime before 1800, the cradle reaper began to see widespread use between 1800 and 1840 in the United States. The cradle reaper consisted of a set of wooden finger shaped spokes attached to the handle of the scythe. The purpose was to catch the stalks of grain and keep them aligned when cut, to make it easier to tie the cut grain into shocks. The McCormick Mechanical Reaper eventually replaced it. Mechanical Reaper Several inventors toyed with devising a mechanical reaper during the Nineteenth Century, however it was Robert McCormick that first came up with a design for a working reaper in 1831. He was unable to perfect the device, so he asked his son John to improve it.
Cotton Plant historians believe humans first started growing cotton sometime around 3000 – 4000 BC in India and Africa. During this same period archeologists have found evidence of its cultivation in the Indus River Valley in Pakistan and in Egypt. Cotton did not arrive in Europe until the First Century AD when Arab traders introduced it to Italy and Spain. Christopher Columbus found natives growing the fiber in the Bahamas during his first voyage in 1492. The Cotton Plant Cotton belongs to the Malvaceae family. Family: Malvaceae – Mallow Malvaceae (from the genus Mallow, altered from the Greek word. in allusion to the mucilaginous emollient qualities, or mucus canals, of the stems. The Family Malvaceae is a large family of plants that contains approximately 2300 species in over 200 genera. The family includes okra, cotton and cacao. General characteristics of the family include alternate, palm shaped leaves. The flowers usually appear as a terminal inflorescence made up by a single flower with five sepals and petals. Over time humans grew four varieties different varies of cotton Gossypium arboreum L. – Indus Valley Gossypium herbaceum L – Arabia and Syria Gossypium hirsutum Mesoamerica Gossypium barbadense – South America Most modern growers across the world grow the species Gossypium hirsutum. Wild cotton is a perennial shrub that is adaptable to a large variety of climates. Cotton varieties are found in arid, semi-arid and tropical environments. The plants can grow to six feet tall in cultivation. Wild cotton plants can grow up to twenty feet tall. Most cotton species are a shrubby perennial; however most cotton farmers grow the plant as an annual, replanting it every year. The broad, lobed leaves can have from three to five lobes. The flowers can be yellow or white, which darken, usually to a dark pink, by the end of the first day. The flowers mature to form a rounded seed bearing capsule called a “boll.” The boll is filled with a fibrous material that surrounds the seeds. The fiber, cotton, is the most valuable part of the boll; however the seed also finds use ground into meal or pressed into oil. The cotton fibers can be white, brown, green or a mixture of these colors. Cotton Cultivation Cotton seeds are generally planted in rows from three to five feet apart. In the United States, planting generally begins in March and April, after plowing and harrowing the ground. About eighty days after planting the plants begin to flower, followed by the development of the green, triangular pods called bolls. The bolls mature from sixty to eighty days after this. The ripened boll bursts, allowing the cotton fiber to be visible. The boll has between seven to ten seeds embedded within the cotton fiber. Cotton Harvesting Harvesting the cotton historically has been a labor intensive affair. The cotton plant did not mature all the cotton at once. Instead, bolls ripened at intervals, creating a lengthy harvest time. Workers had to return to the fields twice, or more, to harvest all the bolls. If early ripening bolls were left on the plants until all matured the cotton fibers in the earlier ones deteriorated until they were unusable, thus causing a loss of a substantial amount of the crop. Thus, workers had to manually pick the cotton as they drug sacks that were ten feet long through the field behind them. These bags weighed as much as 100 pounds when they were full. Plantation owners expected workers to harvest two of these bags a day. The sharp cotton spikes usually cut the worker’s hands as they worked. They had to repeat this process two, three or more times during the growing season, as the cotton plant would continue to produce bolls until winter set in. It was not until the 1940’s that an efficient cotton harvester was developed. Author note: During the period before the Civil War the workers were most likely slaves. After the Civil War, they would most likely have been sharecroppers. The author does not intend to delve deeply into slavery in this book; he merely wants to present the culture of growing and harvesting the cotton, as well as processing the fiber into cloth. The author will have a separate brief article later in this section dealing with slavery and the slave’s role in cotton. Cotton Harvesters Samuel S. Rembert and Jedediah Prescott of Memphis, Tennessee made the first recorded attempt to build a mechanical harvester, receiving a patent for their device in 1850. The device did not become successful. Over the next century numerous attempts were made to invent a mechanical picker. These used a variety of methods, including pneumatic, which used a blast or suction of air, static electricity collectors, strippers and many others. All were unsuccessful. John Rust came up with idea for the first successful cotton picker. He tried a variety of methods, none of which worked. He settled on a spindle type of collector which had a spindle with a smooth surface. He moistened the spindle after he remembered that, as a boy, he picked cotton in the morning, the dew moistened cotton stuck to his fingers. He also noted that his grandmother had moistened her fingers while threading her spinning wheel with cotton to get it to adhere. He and his engineer brother, Donald, built and tested the device, which worked. The International Harvester company picked up on the idea and developed third own version which used a barbed spindle instead of a smooth one like Rust’s machine. They developed this machine in 1942, however it was in the early stages of World War II and manufacturers needed most of the steel to produce the tanks, weapons and other materials necessary to wage large scale war. Thus, production of the machine was limited. The Hopson Planting Company near Clarksdale, Mississippi, managed to produce the first crop of cotton planted and harvested entirely by machine in 1944. At war’s end, the mechanical cotton picker began taking over the tedious job of picking cotton. Meanwhile, cotton hybridizers began developing cotton varieties that matured their crop all at once instead of over an extended period of time. These varieties also held the bolls further off the ground, making it easier for the harvester to do its job. Removal of the Seeds The cotton boll thus consists of seeds and the cotton fiber. The seeds make up about two thirds of the weight of the boll, the remainder being the lighter weight mostly cellulose cotton fibers. Removal of the seed from the fiber in the early days of cotton growing was a problem, as they needed to be removed by hand, a tedious chore. Spinning the Cotton Spinning tufts of fiber into thread, or yarn, is a craft that dates back to prehistoric times. The earliest form of spinning fiber into yarn was to roll tufts of fibers down the thigh with the hands. The rolling action twisted the fiber into yarn. The spinner kept adding tufts until they had the desired length. The next step up in spinning technology was to wind the fibers in a loose wad around a long stick called a distaff. The spinner attached a few strands of fiber to a tool called a spindle, which is a short, round, weighted stick. The spinner spins the loose fibers, twisting them, while pulling more fibers from the distaff. As the resulting yarn gains length, the spinner stops to wind the yarn around the spindle, and continues the process until they have a roll of yarn, ready for weaving into cloth. This was a daily chore that women performed, spinning wool, flax fibers, cotton or animal hair into thread. Historians are unsure of when the first spinning wheels appeared, however many think the originated sometime around 1030 in the Arabian world. From there, it spread to China and then to Europe. The spinning wheel was the first step in mechanizing the spinning process. Using the spinning wheel, the spinner starts twisting the wool with the fingers to form a thread by hand. When the spinner has a sufficient length, they thread the yarn through an orifice in the end of the spool, through hooks on a part of the spinning wheel called a flyer. The yarn is then tied securely onto the spool. The spinning wheel has groves that run to another groove on the end of the spool. An arm of the wheel attaches to a foot pedal by means of a crank. When the wool is secured to the spool, the spinner holds the bundle of fiber in the hand and gives the wheel a gentle push, starting it. The spinner can then work the fibers into thread, called carding, which the flyer twists before it wraps around the spool. The spinner keeps the wheel spinning by pumping with the foot while performing this operation. The spinning wheel made the spinning process go much faster than using the distaff and spindle. Mechanizing the Process This was the process used to spin cotton, wool, flax and other fibers into yarn for centuries. Lewis Paul and John Wyatt devised the first type of mechanized spinning in 1738. Over time water wheels and then steam engines provided power for the spinning apparatus. Today the process has been fully mechanized, however many crafters still practice the age old art of using the spinning wheel and the spindle and distaff methods. Weaving Weaving threads into cloth is an ancient art that dates back into prehistory. Archeological evidence indicates that it appeared independently in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas at different times. The simplest form of weaving was the band weaving method. In this process, the weaver simply tied thread to two sticks an equal distance apart. Then she would weave the cords, or thread, between the tied threads, creating narrow bands of cloth. They could wrap these narrow bands around them to form skirts, kilts or other apparel. Or they could sew the bands together to make something larger. Sometime around 6000 BC weavers started building looms. The first ones were simply a wooden frame on which they could tie the thread, or cord, and then weave other threads between them. This was a slow process and the cloth produced this way was quite expensive. Over time they developed the shed rod, which is a stick you could run between the threads fastened on the loom, separating every other thread. They next used a tool called a sword to raise half the cords at the same time. The invention of a device called a heddle road, sometime around 500 BC, allowed the weaving process to go much faster, lowering the price of the finished cloth. People living in different areas of the world used different types of cloth. In South America the natives used cotton and the fur of alpacas and llamas. In Medieval Europe it was mostly wool, linen, nettle cloth and cotton. Asia developed the silk industry, but also wove using various types of plant fiber like abaca and banana. Other improvements to the loom and the weaving process in the Eighteenth Century during the Industrial Revolution led to the construction of large mills in which thread was spun and then woven into cloth. Cotton Prior to 1793 Prior to 1793 removing the seeds from the cotton boll was a labor intensive process that limited cotton production to about 13,000 bales in the United States. Wars between Britain and France limited Britain’s access to French sources of the cloth. Improving spinning and weaving technologies had made cloth production much more efficient. The limiting factor of cotton production was the seed removal process. Slaves working on the plantations in the south could only remove the seeds from about one pound of cotton a day. Eli Whitney changed all of that in 1793 with the invention of his cotton gin. Eli Whitney (December 8, 1765 – January 8, 1825) The son of Eli, Sr. and Elizabeth Fay Whitney, Eli was native to Westborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Whitney’s mother died when he was eleven years old. At fourteen he started a nail manufacturing business in his father’s workshop to supply much needed nails on a machine of his design during the Revolutionary War. He also made ladies’ hat pins, the only hat pin maker in the county. His parents, including his new stepmother, opposed his desire to attend college, so did farm work and teaching to acquire the funds to attend Yale, from which he graduated in 1792. He had intended to practice law, but accepted a position as a private tutor in South Carolina. To Georgia Instead During his trip to South Carolina he met Catharine Littlefield Greene, the widow of General Nathaniel Greene. Upon his arrival in South Carolina he found that the salary he would receive was only half that promised. Instead of going to South Carolina, Whitney turned the job down and accepted an offer from Mrs. Greene to visit her plantation in Georgia. During his stay the plantation manager, engaged to Mrs. Greene, expressed his disgust at the difficulty of removing seed from cotton. Mrs. Greene invited him to present the problem to her guest, Eli Whitney, telling him that Eli “could make anything.” The Cotton Gin Whitney observed slaves removing the seed from the cotton boll, paying particular interest in their hand movements while removing the seeds. In a few hours he built a machine that duplicated those movements. His machine dramatically increased the amount of cotton a slave could process in a day. Patent Disputes Unfortunately for Whitney, word about his revolutionary machine spread across the Georgia countryside like wildfire. Someone broke into his workshop and copied his design before he could file papers for a patent. When he did receive it, he spent the money he made on the machine battling patent infringements, thus instead of making him wealthy, the legal battles left him almost bankrupt. Interchangeable Parts Whitney turned his attention to making muskets. He had conceived the idea of using interchangeable parts to manufacture muskets. Many attribute the Whitney with the invention of interchangeable parts, however this idea was older that Whitney, having first been developed much earlier. Whitney developed and promoted the concept during his work on muskets, an endeavor he began in 1798. Until Whitney, all guns were made by hand by skilled gunsmiths. Thus, each part of every gun was unique and there was no standardization of parts. Parts from one gun would not fit another. Whitney studied the gun making process, and then designed a gun to suit his concept. He made a template for each part and used the template to make the parts. Thus, each gun after assembly was identical to another using his process. The process sped up the manufacturing process. He promoted the idea to other manufacturers and in the process changed the face of manufacturing in the United States. Marriage In 1817 Whitney married Henrietta Edwards. The couple would have four children. Death Whitney passed away of prostrate cancer in 1825. During the course of his illness he invented a number of devices to help ease the pain of his disease. He is interred at New Haven’s historic Grove Street Cemetery.Wholesale Pricing Available For more information, contact: Mossyfeetbooks@gmail.com Orders over $50.00 Free Shipping Download the Mossy Feet Books catalog today for great reading.
Preview Chapter History of Gardening and Agriculture British Agricultural Revolution Generally, historians term the years between 1750 and 1880 as the British Agricultural Revolution. Many give credit to men like Jethro Tull, who invented a seed drill, Charles “Turnip,” Townsend, who advocated new methods of crop rotation, and Robert Bakewell, who promoted new livestock breeding and irrigation methods as the leaders of this “revolution.” Others disagree on the importance of these men’s roles. Few dispute that between these years improved British farming methods led to improved agricultural productivity. The new four year crop rotation adopted during these years certainly played an important role, as did the introduction of Dutch and Rotherham swing (wheel-less) plough also played an important role as did improved transportation systems like the railroad and steam boats that greatly expanded a farmer’s market area. Selective breeding of livestock gave rise to bigger animals that matured faster. The advent of modern fertilizing practices also improved land productivity, allowing increased crop yields. The increasing productivity of farms meant fewer people were needed on the farms. It also allowed an increase in British population. These two developments led to an increase in the number of workers leaving the farms to work in the cities. This, in turn, fueled the Industrial Revolution, which many historians term the beginning of modern civilization.