Mr. Vaisey’s Mole Plough, c. 1790 and
Warwickshire Prize Plough, c. 1850


Early Agricultural Machinery 1700-1920

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In about 1730 a plough, thought to have originated in Holland, was brought into use near Rotherham, in Yorkshire – henceforth called the Rotherham plough. It was made of wood and fitted with a share and coulter of iron and an iron plated mouldboard. It became very popular in both England and Scotland and a great number were made marking the first steps towards British factory plough production. But it was James Small of Berwick who believed that the countless patterns of mouldboard in general use could all be replaced by a single, universal shape cast in iron. He set about applying mathematics to the plough to produce the perfect and practical shape of mouldboard. His plough was a great improvement on the earlier Rotherham and was quickly adopted in the North. The theory and debate surrounding plough design indicated a desire for improvements in agriculture that was to accelerate throughout the eighteenth century. The competition between designers was intensified by the offer of medals and prizes by societies for outstanding developments. Trials were arranged, both publicly and privately to determine the merits of one plough over another. Ploughing matches were organised which had the effect of raising the standard of the ploughmen themselves.

Additional information

Weight 0.0118 kg
Dimensions 5 × 24.5 cm