Horses have pulled plows and other farm machinery for thousands of years throughout the world. Americans in eighteenth century used horses to pull their iron plows through the tough prairie grass to start their farms.
In the nineteenth century, farmers and entrepeneurial inventors made a multitude of improvements on basic plows, harrows, cultivators, and manure spreaders. Some of these people applied for patents on their improvements. To accompany their patent applications, they often made models of their inventions. Some of these models survive and some are in the Museum's collections. The inventors also made drawings of the parts of their inventions that pointed out the improvements. Today the U.S. Patent Office has an online database of these patents and drawings.
Evidence of horse-drawn machinery in the 1800s and early 1900s exists in photographs. Several sets of these photographs are in the Museum's collections. They provide valuable historic information.