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Steam Ploughing Engines
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These days, with all the modern technology,
it seems a daft way to plough a field. It involves two
very expensive engines, one at each end of the field and a plough
that is dragged from one end to the other by steel ropes. Each of these
ropes comes from a winding drum at the base of the engine. One rope is let
out by one engine while the other is wound in, pulling the plough towards it and
ploughing a furrow as it goes.
On reaching the other end, the plough is
rearranged ready to start the journey back.
The engine drivers contact each other using their steam whistles, and
each engine moves forward one furrow width. The plough is
then pulled back again to the first engine, digging the
next furrow as it goes. This sequence continues
until the whole field is completed.
These days we would just get into a tractor,
press the start button and off we would go. Steam ploughing
was much more labour intensive and time consuming. Both engines
would need coal and water, and time to heat up and produce the steam.
The engines and plough would need to be carefully aligned ready for each run,
and of course the whole thing required several people to complete the task.
It would be very
expensive and wasteful to have your own ploughing engines and so most farmers
would hire in a ploughing team to do the work. This team would go from
to farm ploughing the fields. The same would happen when it came to
steam threshing. A steam traction engine and threshing machine
would arrive and it would be "all hands to the pump" to
get the job done and move on to the next farm.
||This is Margaret, the ploughing engine at
the bottom of the field.
||This is the ploughing engine at the top of
Note the steel cables coming from the drums.
||This view shows Margaret and the plough,
which has just arrived.
When it returns it will be tipped the other way.
||I was lucky enough to "cadge" a
ride on the plough one year.
This photo was taken while on the plough and shows the field
and the vast expanse of the show ground in the background.
||This is another view of Margaret taken from
further up the field.
||This is a bit of an odd ball. This
steam ploughing engine has
been converted to diesel and looks very strange. No doubt it
it's purpose, but oh dear! There were actually a pair of these
||This ploughing engine is being prepared for
Taken at Netley Marsh in 2009.