History of Agriculture

Prehistoric Technology--agriculture was the invention that allowed larger communities with division of labor, therefore more progress Ancient World--progress was limited by attitudes towards technology in Europe and the Middle East The fall of Rome resulted in a near-complete collapse of civilization
The Middle Ages in Europe (700-1400 CE)--technological progress and economic changes
four seasons
 the four season, from bnf.fr
Agricultural changes increased the amount of food one farmer could produce: Feudalism gave farmers somewhat more freedom to adopt new technologies:castle with fields and ox drawn plow


  waterwheel at 17th century ironworks
Water Power began to be used in place of human muscle:water mill
 image of a saint   23. Life and Miracles of Saint Louis
Christianity and attitudes towards technology in the Middle Ages
The Early Modern Era from 1450 to 1750 saw further technological innovations and changes in thinking.printing press The printing press allowed knowledge to spread more quickly and reliably: impact:
  Martin Luther
Scientific Revolution  ( a somewhat more detailed overview ):
Magellan's fleet
 the full rigged ship (about 1500--only one of Columbus's ships was the new design)

The Industrial Revolution began in England

Improvements in agriculture helped start the industrial revolution and were crucial to its success
notice also what life was like for farm laborers, to provide a comparison with the lives of factory workers

Leading up to the industrial revolution, the key change was Enclosure, a change in how the use of agricultural land was organized
enclosed fields
In the late 18th century (at the start of the industrial revolution):
painting of farm workers shearing sheep
Rural Poor:

Improved agricultural technology (needed for the industrial revolution to continue to grow): early timeline
a turnip slicer because horses can't manage whole turnips
turnip slicing
Rapid industrialization meant more demand for food and therefore required further innovation in agriculture--improved science and technology for agriculture were as much a result of the industrial revolution as a cause.  Capitalism was coming to agriculture
Agricultural Developments in the US:

scythe with cradle
 Scythe with cradle

Labor involved in growing 100 bushels of wheat

Horse-drawn agricultural machines developed in the mid-19th century were a revolution at least as significant as the tractor

1837 John Deere produced a wrought iron plow with steel cutting edge for sticky prairie soil--his factory produced about 1000 in 1846, about 10,000 in 1857.  Harrows, grain drills, cultivators, and mechanical threshers (John and Hiram Pitts, 1837) come into use in 1840s

 McCormick Reaper
Two workable horse-drawn reapers patented in the 1830s by Cyrus McCormick (some of the ideas apparently came from a slave he owned) and Obed Hussey, both using vibrating blades, in Hussey's case moving in a slot in a series of guide teeth.  The McCormick reaper could cut 15 acres of wheat a day. A man with a scythe and cradle could cut only 3 acres. Not widely used until about 1855. Widespread use of these machines came with Civil War

 Glidden's 1874 barbed wire design

PEM Photo, Steam Tractor, Dacusville Farm Days
Enthusiasm continued for steam tractors despite usefulness only on hard soils (14 hp steam engine weighed 12,000 lbs.).

Tractors with internal combustion enginesHartsough tractor
Henry Ford

 Fordson Model F