of Farming: Frank Sadorus and Changes in Agriculture
1880 - Frank Sadorus born
1884-1890 - Horse drawn combine used in Pacific coast areas
1885 - George Eastman marketed first box camera
1889-1919 - Period of farm prosperity
1890 - Most of the basic potential of agricultural machinery
dependent on horsepower had been discovered
1890ís - Agriculture became increasingly mechanized and commercialized
1900-1920 - Urban
influences on rural life intensified 1907 - Frank Sadorus begins taking
photographs (he is 27)
1908 - Henry Ford manufactured the first Model-T automobile - President
Rooseveltís Country Life Commission was established and focused attention
on the problems of farm wives and the difficulty of keeping children
on the farm
1910-1915 - Big open-geared tractors came into use in areas of extensive
1911 - GWB, Frankís father, died
1912 - Frank Sadorus took his last photographs (he is 32)
1917 - United States declared war on Germany and enters World War I
- Sadorus family farm was sold - Frank Sadorus was committed to an institution
1920ís - Agricultural surpluses became the chief agricultural issue
1920-1940 - Gradual increase in farm production resulted from expanded
use of mechanized power
1934 - Agricultural Adjustment Act
of Labor Force = Farmers
bankruptcies and depression
of prosperity / Panic of 1907
and war boom
postwar recession / speculative boom
Depression Change of Farming
and Its Influence:
1850 - About 80 labor hours were required to produce 100 bushels of
corn (2 1/2 acres) by hand planting and with a walking plow and harrow.
1890 - About 40 labor hours were required to produce 100 bushels of
corn (2 1/2 acres) with a two-bottom gangplow, disk and peg-tooth harrow,
and a two-row planter.
1930 About 20 labor hours were required to produce 100 bushels of corn
(2 1/2 acres) with a two-bottom gang plow, seven-foot tandem disk, harrow,
twelve-foot combine, and trucks.
How Does the
Math Work? (for students, if you want them to figure it out)
When looking at all these figures, it is easier to make sense of them
by looking at the number of people needed in order to produce the same
amount of corn each year.
This can be done in a couple of ways:
First Calculation: We know from the information above about the
1850ís that it takes 80 hours to farm 2 1/2 acres. How long would it
take to farm one acre?
80 ÷ 2.5 = ? ÷ 1
This ratio shows us that it would take 32 hours to farm one acre in
the 1850ís. How long would it take to farm one acre in the 1890ís? or
1890ís = 16 hours to farm one acre; 1930ís = 8 hours to farm one acre)
The Sadorus family
farm was roughly 180 acres.
How many hours
would it take to farm 180 acres in the 1850s?
32 hours/acre x 180 acres = 5,760 hours
During the 1890s?
16 hours/acre x 180 acres = 2,880 hours
During the 1930s?
8 hours/acre x 180 acres = 1,440 hours
Calculation: There is another way to figure out how many hours
it would take to farm the Sadorusís land. We start with the same information.
We know that during all of these time periods, 2 1/2 acres
are needed to produce one unit, one hundred bushels of corn.
ų 2.5 acres = 72
In this math
equation we broke down the Sadorus's farm into how many units can be
produced. One unit is 100 bushels of corn. We found that the Sadorus's
farm can produce 72 units.
In the 1850s
it took about 80 hours to produce one unit. 80 hours x 72 units = 5,760
In the 1890s
it took about 40 hours to produce one unit. 40 hours x 72 units = 2,880
In the 1930s
it took about 20 hours to produce one unit. 20 hours x 72 units = 1,440
compared how long it would take to farm the Sadorus land during the
different time periods. Now we want to find out how many people it
would take to get the work done in the same amount of time. Because
we want to compare these numbers, we want to manipulate them in the
Letís assume that
during all three time periods the people working work for ninety days.
The number of days in itself is not important - the fact that we use
the same number for ALL of our calculations is.
hours of work ų 90 days = 64 hours of work a day
1890s: 2,880 hours of work ų 90 days = 32 hours of work a day
1930s: 1,440 hours of work ų 90 days = 16 hours of work a day
Now, we know that
you canít work more than 24 hours a day - most people today donít work more
than 9 (except at planting and harvest times). So, in order to get the work done on time, they would have to
divide the work among a group of people. Letís say that each person
works 8 hours a day.
1850s: 64 hours
of work a day ų 8 hours work for one person = 8 people working
1890s: 32 hours of work a day ų 8 hours work for one person = 4 people
1930s: 16 hours of work a day ų 8 hours work for one person = 2 people
can do a lot to help students understand how the changes in agricultural
technology affected farmers and their families. Even in the mid-1800s
it was essential that the family worked together and stayed together
in order to farm the land. As the times changed and there was more and
there was more dependence on machinery, fewer people were needed to
produce the same amount of crops - and it was no longer economically
feasible for families to stay together on the same land.
Do these statements
agree with what actually happened with the Sadorus family? Are there
other possible reasons for why the family sold their farm? (for example, they couldnít
afford to keep up with the technology)
Eastman Photography site
Land record search site for Illinois (State Archives)
American Museum of Photography site
from Sadorus Collection:
Sadorus Collection # ---- Picture Subject
034 - farm machinery (thresher?)
035 - bailing hay by hand
046 - Phoebe on knees working in the ground
051 - machinery
061 - picking corn by hand
083 - machinery / horses
088 - machinery
361 - manure spreader
415 - very large machine
529 - corn picking wagon
555 - family in fall harvest
422 - bailing hay
431 - farm machinery
557 - farm machinery and horses
can divide into groups or work individually on a topic to research farm
statistics today and report on the average size of farms, the number
of farms in Illinois, the types of farms, new methods of farming, new
technologies, and the possible causes of bankruptcy or sell off, comparing
today to the 1950s or 1970s.
http://www.ilfb.org/ Illinois Farm
Bureau Web site
http://www.fb.com/ American Farm Bureau
Illinois Agricultural Statistics Service Web site. Click on Links for