Since at least the eighteenth century East Lothian has been renowned as a leading agricultural district. This included the laying out of the “improved” farming landscape, draining, the use of steam power (for threshing, ploughing, cultivating etc), and other new implements and machines.
Adverts for farm displenishing sales in the county in the mid 1880s, at a time of agricultural depression that was to continue until the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century, demonstrate what implements and machines were being used on some of the farms. They included manufactures form leading makers in Scotland including Sinton of Jedburgh, and Shirreff, Finlayson, as well as others in England, including J & F Howard and Richardson. We see reference to iron and metal rather than wood. We see new technologies being used such as reapers – sometimes in large numbers as at West Fortune – double furrow ploughs (introduced from the late 1860s onwards), Norwegian harrows (from the 1850s), as well as horse rakes and American rakes. Interestingly, there are not many planting or sowing machines, though these are mainly for turnips and broadcast sowing. Nor are there many potato spinners (though there are potato ploughs). There are some implements and machines for hay making.
West Fortune, near Drem (from an advert in Haddingtonshire advertiser, 24 October 1884)
Implements – twelve close carts and wheels, 7 long carts, 5 reapers, 1 mower, 1 corn drill (Shirreff’s), 1 manure distributor, 2 large grubbers (Finlayson’s), 6 drill do, 6 pair harrows, 3 Norwegian harrows, 1 pair light harrows, chain harrows, 1 turnip barrow, 3 metal rollers, 1 potato plough (Howard), 3 drill ploughs, 6 ploughs, 2 oilcake breakers, corn bruiser, 9 stack stances. 1 cart frame, 3 turnip cutters (cattle), 2 sheep do., 2 double furrow ploughs, 1 stubble rake, 1 American do., ladders, blankets, bickers, cattle boxes, beam, scales, and weights, steelyard, fanners, barn utensils, corn bags, graips, forks, spades and shovels, 12 sets cart and plough harness.
Muirpark Farm, Tranent (from an advert in Haddingtonshire advertiser, 24 October 1884)
Implements-6 short carts and wheels, 2 long carts and broad wheels, 2 long carts without wheels, 2 frames for short carts, 2 reapers and mowers (one nearly new), 1 horse rake, 2 metal rollers, 1 Norwegian grubber, 1 turnip barrow, 2 large grubbers, 2 drill grubbers, 4 common ploughs, 3 double mould ploughs, 1 double furrow plough, 3 pairs of harrows, 1 pair of drill harrows, 1 chain harrow, 1 turnip cutter, 1 hay collector, 1 wheelbarrow, 1 framed potato riddle, 1 set fanners, 2 barn barrows, bushel, weights, and riddles, and a number of bags, hay forks and rakes, stable utensils, forks, graips &c. 6 sets of harness, cart ropes, and ladders, dairy utensils and patent churn (Sinton’s, no. 3), water barrels, meal ark &c.
Rockville, near North Berwick (from an advert in Haddingtonshire advertiser, 30 October 1885)
6 close carts with wheels, 3 long do. Without wheels, 1 cart frame, 3 common ploughs, 1 double mould do., 1 pairing do., 3 two horse grubbers, 3 drill do., 4 pair iron harrows, 1 do. Grass seed do, 1 do. Drill do., 1 brake do., 1 Norwegian do., 1 single horse roller, 1 Cambridge do., 1 do. Drill do., 1 turnip sowing machine, 1 corn drill, 2 reaping machines, 1 stubble rake, 1 oil cake bruiser, 1 cattle turnip slicer, 1 sheep do. Do, 1 water puncheon with pump and hose, 2 dog kennels. A number of watering tubs and troughs, pig troughs, sheep feeding boxes, heck, nets, wire netting, stobs, flakes, &c, dumb tom and fearing poles, 2 long stack ladders, 4 small do, forks, grapes, shovels, spades, cart ropes, &c. 1 four wheeled dog cart, harness, riding saddle, and bridge. Set of breaking tackle &c, 6 sets cart and plough harness, 2 corn chests. Barn utensils-1 pair fanners (Richardson’s), weights, measures, sack barrow, a number of sacks, riddles, &c, also, a number of shearers’ blankets, bickers, tins &c. The above implements, &c, are all good, being only a short time in use.
Duncanlaw, near Gifford (from an advert in the Haddingtonshire advertiser, 7 May 1886)
Implements – 5 close carts and wheels, 2 long do, and do, 2 do. Do without wheels, 2 cart frames, 3 common ploughs, 2 double moulded do (with markers &c), 5 pairs English and Scotch harrows, 1 grubb harrow, 2 Finlayson’s grubbers, 4 drill, do., 1 iron plain roller, 1 iron drill do., 1 iron plain roller, 1 iron drill do., 1 broadcast machine, 1 turnip do., 3 reapers (in good order, corn or grass), sheep turnip cutter, 2 cattle do., cake bruiser and belting, water barrel on wheels, lamb cart on wheels, horse rake, hay humbler, chain harrow, sheep dipping machine, sheep nets and stobs, hammer and spile, beam, scales and weights, steelyards, graips, forks, shovels, &c. Barn utensils-2 sets fanners, bruiser, stack ladders, bosses, traces &c, Also engine boiler, thrashing machine, humblers, cart and plough harness and gig harness.
Bankrug, near Gifford (from an advert in the Haddingtonshire advertiser, 21 May 1886)
Implements – 5 close carts and wheels, 2 long carts, 3 cart frames, 2 reaping machines, 4 common ploughs, 1 double mould plough, 2 grubbers, 2 drill grubbers, 1 iron roller, 1 Cambridge drill roller, 4 pairs harrows, 1 chain harrow, 1 turnip sowing machine, 1 horse rake, 3 water barrels, 1 barrow, 2 feeding boxes, 1 turnip slicer, 1 oilcake breaker, 1 corn bruiser, 1 pair fanners, weighing machine and weights, barn utensils, meal chest, corn bags &c, 5 ladders, forks, graips, &c, a quantity of fence wire netting., cart and plough harness.
Do you notice any particular trends in the implements and machines advertised for sale? Is the range of implements and machines wider than you would have thought would be used? Are there any particular implements or machines that attract your attention – and why?