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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Agriculture — The Old and the New

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George Grantham Bain, AGRICULTURE — THE OLD AND THE NEW (n.d.). Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Creator George Grantham Bain
Context Settlement of the Great Plains
Audience General public
Purpose To show how the invention of the steel plow made it easier to farm the Great Plains

Historical Significance

John Deere, an Illinois blacksmith and manufacturer, designed the first cast steel plow in 1837, which made it possible for the farmers on the Great Plains to plow the tough prairie ground. Known as "the Sod Buster," Deere's steel plow contributed to opening up the prairies for farming because it was able to cut through soil without clogging. Because the steel plow was able to cut through the soil easier, it did not need as much energy and could be pulled by horses instead of oxen. By 1855, John Deere was selling more than 10,000 steel plows a year.

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