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1878 Planter Still Ready To Go
If he needed to, Neil Holcomb could still plant corn with his 1878 Barlow check row corn planter. His father used it before him, as did his grandfather, great grandfather, and great, great grandfather, who bought it brand new. Although the planter hasn't actually been used since the 1930's, all parts are in place, and it's ready to go.
The largely wooden planter nearly went under the ax in the 1930's when a more "modern" planter replaced it. Holcomb's father decided to save it and in the 1960's helped his son repaint the planter to its original colors. The only thing that had to be replaced was the wooden jump seat that had been destroyed by mice seeking the salt left behind by sweating bottoms.
"Everything else was there, including the covers to the boxes and different plates for different size seed," says Holcomb, of Eleva, Wis.
The planter was pretty advanced in its day. One foot pedal controls the lift mechanism, engaging wheel gear cogs that raise the planter as it reaches the end of the field. A second foot pedal controls a scraper plate to clean the press wheels and prevent dirt buildup. Thick glass windows on each side of the seed boxes allowed the operator to watch the kernels drop.
Other innovations for the day included a wooden marker that rode beneath the driver and laid out a track to follow. The driver would flip it from one side to the other at the end of the field. Concave press wheels ensured good seed-to-soil contact and alternative trip mechanisms gave options for check row planting.
"It was advertised as the best check row corn planter of its time," notes Holcomb.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Neil Holcomb, S. 13034 County Rd. 1, Eleva, WI 54738 (ph 715-878-4596).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #6