From butter churns to diesel tractors, the Museum's agricultural artifacts trace the story of Americans who work the land. Agricultural tools and machinery in the collections range from a John Deere plow of the 1830s to 20th-century cultivators and harvesters. The Museum's holdings also include overalls, aprons, and sunbonnets; farm photographs; milk cans and food jars; handmade horse collars; and some 200 oral histories of farm men and women in the South. Prints in the collections show hundreds of scenes of rural life. The politics of agriculture are part of the story, too, told in materials related to farm workers' unions and a group of artifacts donated by the family of the labor leader Cesar Chavez.
"Agriculture - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Built in 1943, Old Red was one of the first commercial spindle cotton picking machines. International Harvester developed the machine at the H. H. Hopson Plantation near Clarksdale, Miss., in the early 1940s and began manufacturing machines. According to date code numbers, Old Red was the 25th of 30 picking machines manufactured in 1943, and was sold to Producers Cotton Oil Company in Fresno, Calif. After further development there, the machine, usually operated at 2 mph, picked 8,000 bales of cotton before being retired in 1959. In 1970 Producers donated Old Red to the National Museum of American History. In 1978, the American Society of Agricultural Engineers awarded Old Red landmark status in agricultural engineering.
- Mechanical cotton harvesters transformed work routines on cotton farms. Using tractors to prepare the land and cultivate, herbicides to clean the fields of weeds, and mechanical harvesters to pick the cotton, the crop changed from one that required large amounts of labor to a capital-intensive operation. Millions of field hands in the South were thus unemployed and migrated to towns and cities across the country.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Producers Cotton Oil Company
- International Harvester
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center