A look at farm machinery in Britain. Beginning with the pre-modern world of the horse-drawn plough and the flail, it tells the story of the British agricultural engineering industry, and how it has revolutionised British farming. A revolution which is still going on today.
A central theme of the book is technical innovation. The replacement of the wooden plough of the eighteenth century with the iron plough; the triumph of the steam engine and the threshing machine in the late Victorian era; and the tractor and combine harvester revolution of the twentieth century. Along the way we meet the inventors, form Jethro Tull to Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson.
However, this is much more than a catalogue (well illustrated) of machines and tractors. It is the first-ever history of the British (or any other) agricultural engineering industry, and is truly pioneering work. The author’s research has encompassed every variety of enterprise, form the small local partnership and family firm to the leading national companies and multinational tractor corporations. All these varieties of experience in a large and variegated industry are brought together in a single lucid and compelling narrative.
Finally, what of the long term future? The industry has survived the rationalisations of post-1970, with new firms replacing old ones. The future is uncertain, but unlike many of Britain’s other key manufacturing industries such as those of motorbikes, shipbuilding, iron, coal and steel, the farm machinery industry continues as a significant part of the country’s economy on into the twenty-first century.
- Author: Peter Dewey
- Binding: Hardback and paperback
- ISBN: 978-1-85936-180-1 (hb), 978-1-85936-160-3 (pb)
- Pages: 368
- Illustrations: 95 photographs
- Date of Publication: April 2008
- Dimensions: 243 × 169 mm