Iron Harvests of the Field

The Making of Farm Machinery in Britain since 1800

Peter Dewey

Agricultural technology has moved on, inexorably, from broad-cast seed and the sound of the threshing flail, via the portable steam engine and the threshing machine, right through to the modern world of giant tractors and efficient farming methods. This book traces the broad sweep of the whole industry over 200 years.
Date Published :
September 2012
Publisher :
Carnegie Publishing
Language:
English
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781859361603

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In stock
$29.95
Hardback
ISBN : 9781859361801

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In stock
$45.95

Overview
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Agricultural technology has moved on, inexorably, from broad-cast seed and the sound of the threshing flail, via the portable steam engine and the threshing machine, right through to the modern world of giant tractors and efficient farming methods. This book traces the broad sweep of the whole industry over 200 years. Beginning with the pre-modern world of the horse-drawn plough and the flail, it tells the story of the British agricultural engineering industry, and how it has revolutionized British farming – a revolution which is still going on today. A central theme of the book is technical innovation – the replacement of the wooden plough of the eighteenth century with the iron plough, the triumph of the steam engine and the threshing machine in the late Victorian era, and the tractor and combine harvester revolution of the twentieth century. Along the way we meet the inventors, form Jethro Tull to Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson. Apart from the larger issues of business history, the personal is not neglected. We enter the worlds of the Victorian factory laborer, the local employer dynasties of the later nineteenth century, the women workers of the First World War, the office politics of the 1920s, and of the enigmatic Harry Ferguson. We uncover the treachery of the Russian agent at Odessa in 1918, and find out why the attempt to create a massive industry-wide combination after the First World War failed so disastrously.

REVIEWS
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"[A] tour de force which is unlikely to be bettered in the near future. His beautifully illustrated and scholarly book is a major achievement. Whether they sip it like a good wine and savour it in small amounts, or swallow it whole like a Galway oyster, a generation of agricultural, economic, business and urban historians will benefit from Dewey’s efforts."

- R. J. Moore-Colyer, Agricultural History Review

Machines have changed everything we know about farming. "Iron Harvests of the Field': The Making of Farm Machinery in Britain Since 1800" delves into the history and evolution of British agriculture since the Industrial revolution and a blending of British heritage, of the farmer, and of the factory worker. Tracing the early days of the technology to innovators and the enterprises who sold it, the history of the merging of these two concepts tell much about the story of the working man in society. "Iron Harvests of the Field" is a strong addition to general history and reference collections, especially those with a focus on the Industrial Revolution in regards to Great Britain.

- Midwest Book Review

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