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Right-hand is "right" too. (Letters to the Editor).

As a long-time collector of walking plows and other primitive horse-drawn farm equipment, a letter in the (Farm Collector, February 2003) issue was misleading in regards to the right-handed plow not coming out until the tractor plow.

In my research, I find the wood moldboard plows were mostly right handed. In 1797, Charles Newbold's patent in the U.S. was for a right-handed cast plow. In 1819, Woods patented a plow with replaceable cast shear and cast moldboards that were right handed.

In 1837, john Deere made his first steel plow, which was right handed. The Baker's (cast moldboard) plow, which was held together by wooden pins, was also right handed. A number of companies were building plows, some of which also offered left-handed plows.

The cast iron plows and left-handed plows were more popular east of the corn belt due to the soil types--the cast iron plow would not scour in these heavy soils. The prairie grass required a sod breaker such as a rod plow or prairie plow with long moldboards. These were steel plows that would scour easily. The cleared land was plowed with new ground plows that typically had standing cutters to handle the root problem.

Around 1890, some attempts were made to build large gang plows for use with steam traction engines. These were unsuccessful since these engines were not developed for the heavy work of plowing. However, these became a reality around 1900, but sold in limited numbers for about 20 years. Smaller tractors with two- to three-bottom plows or tractors with disk plows were becoming more popular.

Harold Eddy, RFD #2, Slater, MO 65349

Editor's note: The debate over right-or left-handed plows is the subject of this issue's Rusty Iron department. Turn to page 12 for the complete story.

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Publication:Farm Collector
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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