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DESCRIPTION OF A MACHINE FOR DRAINING LAND, CALLED A VOLE PLOW.* “For this invention a bounty of thirty guineas was voted to Mr. Scott, † who has described the manner of using the machine in the following letter :
“The bounty above mentioned was given to Mr. Scott in the spring of the year 1797, and in the month of October following, a patent was taken out by Mr. Henry Watts, for an implement for draining land, the similarity of which to Mr. Scott's mole plow it is unnecessary for us to point out; but what we think bighly important to inform the public is, that Mr. Scott, who sold his mole plow for two guineas and a hall (indeed, Mr. Welton's letter says, the price of the plow com. plete is about two guineas'), is now the agent for the sale of Mr. Watts' patent improvement, at the enormous price of ten guineas. Such of our readers as desire a further account of this matter, will find a long letter concerning it in the Gentleman's Magazine for February.
“The mole plow has been used in Sutton Park, for John Webbe Weston, Esq., these three years past, and is found to answer every purpose of underground draining, without breaking the surface any more tban by a thin coulter being drawn along, the mark of which disappears in a few days. A man and boy, with four borses, may drain thirty acres in a day, provided there is an open gripe or ditch cut at the lower side of the ground to be thus drained, in order to receive the water from those small cavities which the plow forms in the ground, at the depth of twelve inches or more. The method of using it is, to go down and up, at the distance of fifteen, twenty or thirty feet, as the land may require. This alludes to grass lands; but it is equally good for turnips, when it is too wet for sheep to feed them off, or on any land that is too wet to sow ; either of which evils it will remedy in a very short time, provided there is some declivity in the ground. The best time for this operation, in grass lands, is in October or November, when the land has received moisture enough for the plow to work, and not so much as to injure the land or render it soft.
“ A further account of this plow is given in the following letter from Mr. Weston, dated Sutton Place, December 9, 1795:
"With respect to the mole plow, I really think too much cannot be said in its commendation ; for the purpose of temporary draining, where such is useful, as is
* By Mr. Adam Scott, of Guildford survey.-(From the Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.] · + When bounties for machines, etc., are given by the Society, it is always upon the condition that the machine, or a model thereof, shall be deposited in the Society's collection, for the use of the public; it is also expressly stated, “that no person shall receive any premium, bounty or encouragement from the Society, for any matter for which he has obtained, or proposes to oblain, & patent."
the case with great part of my land laid down to grass, it being on a declivity, and is too wet (in the autumn and winter only,) after great falls of rain or snow. It being free from land springs, I conceived it improper to be underdrained in the usual way, as thereby the moisture necessary for its producing a crop of grass would be carried off equally at all seasons.
•• The soil is very light, but not sandy, to the depth of from nine to eighteen inches, or more ; and underneath is a strong clay, which renders the surface absolutely pouchy in winter ; but, from the use of this instrument, the ground on which a man could not walk will, in the course of forty-eight hours, be enabled to carry any cattle. From ten to twenty acres may be easily drained in one day, by a single team, which makes the expense trifling, though it should be necessary to be done every year.
"The drains made by the plow should be in direct lines, at from ten to twenty feet apart, and all vent themselves into an open furrow or gripe at the bottom. I have used this machine for four seasons past, and with great success. The price of the plow complete is about two guineas. The plow, to the best of my knowledge, is the sole invention of my steward, Adam Scott, whose ingenuity on this and many other occasions deserves every encouragement.'
“There are also two letters from Edmund Bochen, Esq.; the first from Burwood Park, dated March 20, 1796, is as follows:
««• Mr. Scott's mole plow is so contrived that it makes the drains from one foot to eighteen inches deep; the bore two inches and a half in diameter; the soil rather a stiff clay. I made use of six borses, but am inclined to think, from the ease with which they worked it, that four would be fully sufficient. I shall have, next season, a better opportunity of coming to a certainty on the subject. Should you wish for further information, I shall then be happy to communicate what may have occurred.
"• I apprehend this plow can only answer in soils where it is not likely to meet with any material obstruction ; in mine, 1 fatter myself, I shall find much benefit result from its use.'
"In his second letter, from Ottershaw Park, dated February 12, 1797, Mr. Bochen says:
" On the first of this month, in light land, my drain being fourteen inches deep, I worked the plow, without difficulty, with two oxen and three horses ; but, in the strong clays, found it work enough for four horses and two oxen, although I reduced my depth two inches. The drains I have drawn on low wet lands and clay run instantly after the plow. On these lands I have generally drawn the
drains about twenty feet asunder, and find them much firmer and drier, I con· ceive that, except in very heavy land, four oxen would be sufficient, and fully equal to two oxen and three horses, as the former step, and consequently draw much better.
"The mole plow, in my opinion, fully answers the intents in such lands as it can properly work in ; my only objection being to the strength required to work it, which makes it is practicable when a large team is not kept.
" It may be worthy remark, that the last year's drains, which were in clay, sre as entire, and run as freely, as the first moment they were made.""
Major Dickinson, of Steuben county, New York, appears to have been the first one to introduce the mole plow in this country. Major Dickinson bimself, in a recent address, thus speaks of what he calls his
BEANGIAE PLOW. “ I will take the poorest acre of stubble ground, and, if too wet for corn in the first place, I will thoroughly drain it with a Shanghae plow and four yoke of oxen in three hours.
“I will suppose the acie to be twenty rods long and eight rods wide. To thoroughly drain the worst of your clay subsoil, it may require a drain once in eight feet, and they can be made so cheaply that I can afford to make them at that distance. To do so, will require the team to travel sixteen times over the twenty rods lengthwise, or one mile in three hours ; two men to drive, one to hold the plow, one to ride the beam, and one to carry the crowbar, pick up any large stones thrown out by going to the right or left, and to help to carry around the plow, which is too heavy for the other two to do quickly.
“The plow is quite simple in its construction, consisting of a round piece of iron, tbree and a half or four inches in diameter, drawn down to a point, with a furrow cut in the top one and a half inches deep; a plate, eighteen inches wide and three feet long, with one end welded ioto the furrow of the round bar, while the other is fastened to the beam. The colter is six inches in width, and is fastened to the beam at one end, and at the other to the point of the round bar. The colter and plate are each three-fourths of an inch thick, which is the entire width of the plow abore the round iron at the bottom.
“ It would require much more team to draw this plow on some soils than on yours. The strergth of team depends entirely on the character of the subsoil. Cast iron, with the exception of the colter, for an easy soil would be equally good ; and from eighteen to twenty-four inches is sufficiently deep to run the plow. I can as thoroughly drain an acre of ground in this way as any that can be found in Seneca county."
Within the past three or four years, some five or six patents have been granted to persons in Madison county, Ohio, for improvements on the mole plow. These Obio mole plows, as well as the Marquis and Emerson or Gopher plow of Illinois, are operated by a capstan, as shown in Fig. 7.
Fig. 7 is a view of the sweep power, capstan, cable and plow, in operation. The team is driven around the capstan attached to the lever, by which the cable
is wound upon the capstan, and the plow thus drawn forward. FF are anchor stakes, to secure the power in place while being operated. The cable is 100 feet long, and when the plow is drawn up to the first anchor stakes, the team is hitched to the
body of the power, and it is dragged FIG. 8.
forward 100 feet, and set again for another turn. In the plow, the shank, B, is set to go the desired depth. This machine is the one made by Lane and Loomer, of Lockport, Ill. Fig. 8 is a view of the mole and foot of the sbank ; this mole is in flexible sections.
Figs. 9 and 10 represent Rowland & Forbis' mole plow, of London, Ohio, patented in 1859; it is also known as the Witherow plow.
The improvements here represented are said to be well adapted to the purposes intended ; and the simplicity of the adjusting apparatus, in combination with the strength of the supports, is certainly theoretically much in its favor. Fig. 9 represents an elevation of the machine; and Fig. 10 is a plan or a view taken when looking down upon it. Similar letters refer to similar parts in both figures.
At A, are the runners for carrying and guiding the front part of the machine. Upon the cross-bar of “this sled” rests the end of the beam, B, to which the draft is attached by the rope, and through the sled by the bolt, l. The rear end