NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment  (Read 611 times)

hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Hello everyone,

I'm a blacksmith and steel fabricator in Hampshire, I have gotten a bit bored of making gates and railings (everything is just ANOTHER variation on a rectangle) and I am looking at having a go at making something a bit different.

I have a fascination with the old advertising posters and newspaper ads from the early 1900's, mostly machinery that is used with traction engines or horse, ploughs, harrows etc but also manual scythe sharpeners, log mills etc, one of my particular favourites is the Champion forge all in one with build in vice, anvil and blower, they even sold peripherals like a manual mini lathes for thread cutting etc.


Mainly what I'm wondering is if there would be a market for making these things, most of this kit I'm assuming has had the patents run out and most of the companies don't exist any more, and whilst I do understand that there probably isn't a big market for it, I have pretty low over heads and would only plan on building in the 10's a year (if even that much).
What I thought is that a lot of this equipment was designed to be used for small farms and homesteads in the first place so the equipment itself is relatively small but also build simple, sturdy and easy to repair.
One of the complaints I hear a lot from farmers when I do welding repairs for them etc is that a lot of the equipment there using now has so many electronic controls that theirs nothing they can do to get them up and running again without having to call up the manufacturer to get an engineer out and that can take days even weeks to get out there, now, I'm not saying I could build simplified versions of millions of £'s combines but a small plough or a harrow I COULD build.


Anyway I would be really interested in your thoughts please, negative or positive all welcome.


Many thanks         
Voss Electric Fence

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 05:09:57 pm »
 @hammerandtongs88 – only just noticed your post.
 
Firstly, I would say that farmer complaints about the repair of hi-tech equipment have no bearing on whether you could find a market for low-tech equipment manufacture at low-production levels!
 
I’ve thought about the market for low-tech equip’ manufacture myself.  Whether I will pursue idc (in partnership with metal-manipulating brother) is another matter.
 
There is a decent market for low-end, purely mechanical equipment (although the odd hydraulic cylinder might feature) in the small farm/small-holder sector.  But, how to tap into it profitably (?) given that there are many v large factories (and they are not all in China !) churning out fairly standard equipment, e.g. small ploughs, various types of harrow, rakes, fork-lifts, bale spikes, quick 3PL adaptors etc etc etc, at quite competitive prices with reasonable production quality.
 
Re stuff like ploughs:  I can’t see it would be viable at low volume production unless you buy-in pre-formed plough shares and other profiled parts to build the plough body around.
 
I would suggest h&t88 that you do a thorough trawl of the types of smaller tractor & ATV implements presently on offer (3PL mounted or towed) and then decide whether you can produce at a lower price.  I offer a few, off-the-cuff, examples as a starter – field-rollers, various types of tined harrows & bracken bruisers.
 
Work out what you can offer competitively and then get yourself a web-site offering some "standard" products (if you haven’t done so already).  Throw-in bespoke manufacture and repair service and see what happens.

All to the good if you can high-light the traditional smithy angle, but, I would suggest, do not over do the  "traditional" bit:  I am one of those folk who equate "traditional" with more £s than I really need to fork out.  I suspect there are many owners of small farms/small-holdings who will think the same. 

Just some idle thoughts for what they are worth (or not). 

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 06:45:21 pm by arobwk »

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 09:50:44 pm »
I have a book on horse drawn agricultural machinery in the UK up to 1930s.
And another one on modern amish horse drawn machinery. Perhaps you would be interested in something like that?
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 09:04:33 am »
@ macgro7   That sounds interesting could you tell me the names of the books and ill see if I can find a copy?


hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 09:16:05 am »
@ arobok

Thanks for the feed back, lots of things to think about, I'll have a look on the internets and see what I can find as a comparison.

What would your thoughts be on equipment that could be chain pulled? I remembered seeing at a steam show some one showing a video of a traction engine pulling something across a field and I wondered if a modern electrical winch could be used in a similar way?


The other stuff I wanted to look at was the old maintenance machinery, things like saw sets etc, my father in-law is a machinist and he said he is fairly confident he can make a lot of the compenents that need milling and lathe work, he did his apprenticeship in a tractor factory!   

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2019, 12:48:49 am »
You might find a small market for bespoke chain harrows for dragging over grass fields to scratch the surface of the short grass field  to give better growth
 
The sort of twisted  tempered spiked links  a bit like a caltrop spike set on a ten foot wide round bar on 10 foot long chains & dragged behind a horse ,  cow , small tractor or a Landrover in early spring .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2019, 01:12:11 am »
@ macgro7   That sounds interesting could you tell me the names of the books and ill see if I can find a copy?
-"horse powered farming for the 21st century" Leslie
-"discovering horse drawn farm machinery" d.j.smith
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2019, 05:22:50 pm »
 @hammerandtongs88 - I'm going to go on a bit, but heh ...
 
I can't think of any agri' equip one would winch across a field: possibly they were demonstrating forestry work ?  Foresty equipment is another area you might wish to look at.
 
As regards your primary interest in older machinery though, I'm assuming you are also tapping into vintage machinery enthusiast forums ??
 
And there must be periodicals aimed at vintage machinery enthusiasts which might give further insight into whether there's a market for replica implements or for restoration of implements that have largely rusted away.  A place to advertise also!
 
I know I'm already at high risk of "teaching Granny", but have you checked out whether there are any Hampshire clubs for vintage tractors, steam engines etc etc ?  (To speak to and maybe become a member of !!)
 
Finally, I will throw in a couple of personal examples of interests in old stuff which might spark a thought or two:
 
I have a Howard 300 rotavator, but try and find the various accessories that were available for a Howard – hen’s teeth! 

I was asking the forum recently about collecting short-cut grass from a flail mower: can’t remember who suggested an old hay rake, but it’s a thought. (There are modern equivalents, but … )

Finally, finally – may I point you to my  “want one of these” Equipment thread.  Can you make me one of those please ?  :D :) :) :) :)
 

 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 09:38:11 pm by arobwk »

hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2019, 08:29:04 am »
@ macgro7 Thank you! Hopefully I can get that on amazon

hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2019, 08:47:37 am »
@ arobwk

Ive been having a look around forums and such but it generally takes a bit longer to get responses, I suppose the more niche the subject the less people there are to discuss it ????
I got asked to fix a rotavator recently by a customer, main drive cog had torn its teeth off a 1/3 of the circumference, had to get a new cog machined to repair it as they dont make that brand any more and that was only early 90's!
 
about the traction engines, I found some picture on here of ploughs being pulled using either cables or chains

http://www.steamploughclub.org.uk/archivepictures.html

I think it was a short lived practise though, I think they only did it originally because of the weight and speed of the engine, it could use the torque more efficiently to pull than to move, but my main idea was that you could maybe do this smaller and attach it to a modern electric motored winch?

hammerandtongs88

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2019, 08:49:58 am »
@ cloddopper Interesting thanks I'll look into it!

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2019, 09:45:14 am »
@hammerandtongs88 - I'm going to go on a bit, but heh ...
 
I can't think of any agri' equip one would winch across a field: possibly they were demonstrating forestry work ?  Foresty equipment is another area you might wish to look at.
 
As regards your primary interest in older machinery though, I'm assuming you are also tapping into vintage machinery enthusiast forums ??
 
And there must be periodicals aimed at vintage machinery enthusiasts which might give further insight into whether there's a market for replica implements or for restoration of implements that have largely rusted away.  A place to advertise also!
 
I know I'm already at high risk of "teaching Granny", but have you checked out whether there are any Hampshire clubs for vintage tractors, steam engines etc etc ?  (To speak to and maybe become a member of !!)
 
Finally, I will throw in a couple of personal examples of interests in old stuff which might spark a thought or two:
 
I have a Howard 300 rotavator, but try and find the various accessories that were available for a Howard – hen’s teeth! 

I was asking the forum recently about collecting short-cut grass from a flail mower: can’t remember who suggested an old hay rake, but it’s a thought. (There are modern equivalents, but … )

Finally, finally – may I point you to my  “want one of these” Equipment thread.  Can you make me one of those please ?  :D :) :) :) :)
Steam ploughing. Done by pulling the plough across the field .A locomotive one side of the field and one on the other craving the plough in turn then advancing after the furrows ploughed .
Seen this done at a steam fair "when I were a lad" Mr Prestwich was the driver,I went to school with his son.
I now feel even older !

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2019, 05:23:15 pm »
@hammerandtongs88

Just to advise that a directed reply (= @member) doesn't work if you put a space between the "@" and the member's name:  in other words, the member won't get an email notification of your post if you add a space between @ and the members name.  ;) :)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 05:28:01 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2019, 06:05:47 pm »
Well, h&t88 and Rtb have proved me wrong, but no wonder the practice didn't last long - 2 steam engines and all that faff of moving each a couple of yards for the next run of furrows.  Did they actually turn the towed plough around for the "return" run (much like modern reversible ploughs) ??
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 07:39:04 pm by arobwk »

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: late 1800's early 1900's agricultural and "homestead" equipment
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2019, 07:06:11 pm »
No turning of the plough needed ,basically 2 x 3 to 6 furrow ploughs back to back with a steering set of wheels in middle on a frame ( I might be going senile but I remember it was painted cornflower blue )

 

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