Implements used on Fifeshire farms in 1873

Adverts for displenishing sales provide a great detail of information about what farmers and other agriculturists were using in their crop and animal husbandry. They tell us a lot about whether they were using “traditional” ones or had introduced new ones; their range and extent; what types of farming and framing practices were being undertaken; changing use of implements and machines; materials used to make implements and machines; noted makes of particular manufactures. 

There had been significant developments in the making of agricultural implements and machines in Scotland from the 1840s to the early 1870s. Agriculture had become increasingly mechanized, for example through the introduction of reaping machines and potato spinners, and powered thrashing machiens, though full mechanization still had a long way to go. Implements and machines had become more efficient. Implements were being increasingly made from iron, though there were still wooden ones around. 

A look at the adverts for displenishing sales in Fife, through the Fifeshire Journal, in October 1873 provides a series of snapshots at the implements and machines that were being used in the county at this time. Modern readers may think that they are relatively small in number. They include a good number for ploughing and preparation of the soil for sowing. There are a smaller number for sowing. Another large group are for the processing of gathered crops, for both humans and livestock, such as barn utensils, grinding stones. And of course, there are a good number of carts. 

Wester Kellie, parish of Carnabee
The whole implements on the farm on the farm, including-coup carts, corn carts, common ploughs, drill ploughs, Tennant’s grubbers, drill grubbers, drill harrows, diamond harrows, Norwegian harrows, common harrows, reaping machine, stone roller, brake, horse rake, turnip sower, beam, scales and weights, ladders, barn utensils, sacks, stathels, graips, spades, a number of wright’s tools, cart and plough harness, &c &c, &c. Also horse power thrashing mill. 

Grange, parish of Balmerino 
The whole implements of husbandry, consisting of 4 coup and 5 corn carts, 5 common and 3 drill ploughs, 5 harrows, 2 Tennant’s grubbers, and 3 drill grubbers, 1 two horse grubber, 1 iron and 1 wooden roller, 2 reaping machines, 1 horse rake, 2 turnip cutters, 1 oil cake crusher, ladders, fanners, cheese press, grinding stone, horse harness, 2 sets gig harness, 4 boilers, dairy utensils, &c. 

Cairnfied, near Ladybank 
Implements – 3 coup and 1 corn cart, 1 cart frame, water barrel on wheels, roller, reaping machine, turnip sowing machine, 2 common, 1 drill, and 2 strip ploughs, Tennant’s grubber, 2 drill grubbers, diamond, chain and common harrows, potato washer, fanners, turnip slicer, corn chest, 2 boilers, 2 metal water troughs, metal liquid manure pump, metal common pump, cheese press, beam, scales, and weights, horse harness, &c. These implements are mostly new. Also, bothy furniture, consisting of beds, table and chairs.

Kinnaird, parish of Kemback 
1 gig in good order, 3 Tennant’s grubbers, 3 drill grubbers, 1 drill harrow, 2 strip ploughs, 5 common ploughs, 3 drill ploughs, 2 wooden rollers, 1 cast-metal roller, 5 coup carts, 5 corn carts, 1 water barrel, 1 turnip sowing machine, 3 sets iron harrows, 1 set wooden harrows, 1 horse rake, 2 reaping machines, 1 stone cart, 1 double furrow plough, graips, forks, barn utensils, and a variety of other articles. 

Allanhill, parish of St Andrews 
4 coup and 2 corn carts; 1 strip, 2 drill, and 4 common ploughs; 1 set circular, 1 set drill, 1 set chain, and 3 ½ sets common harrows; 1 Bental’s, 2 Tennant’s, and 2 Drill Grubbers; 1 iron, 1 stone, and 1 wooden roller; 1 turnip sowing machine; 1 reaping machine; 1 horse and 1 hand rake; 1 wheel, 1 horse meat and 2 hand barrows; 1 turnip cutter; shovels, graips, forks, hoes, ladders; fanners and other barn utensils; sacks; horse harness; dairy utensils; stack stathels and bosses; 3 common boilers; wire nets and fencing; and a variety of other articles. 

Gilmerton, near St Andrews
9 carts, with wings, 6 corn carts; 1 water barrel; 1 broadcast sowing machine; 1 horse rake, nearly new; 1 turnip sower (double), by Kemp, Murray & Nicholson, 1 steam engine (4 horse power), with large boiler and other gearing; 1 Norwegian harrow, 1 chain harrow, 1 diagonal harrow, 4 sets open iron harrows; ploughs; drill grubbers; iron and wood rollers; 1 barn fanners with screens, 1 do. Without, 1 mill do. With screens; corn and meal chests; turnip cutter (for cattle or sheep); corn bruiser; cart and plough harness; sacks; steelyard; beams and scales; 2 wheel barrows; dairy utensils; graips; shovels, &c &c.

The photographs were taken at the Highland Folk Museum, May 2017.