Jethro Tull (1674 - 1741)was a pioneer in agricultural development throughout the early 1700s. He is credited with having invented the seed drill, which he perfected by 1714; a machine which allows the seed to be evenly distributed into a channel which has been carved by a metal plough and covered again by a harrow or cylinder at the back. This precision saved wasting seeds and a new system was born.
This example of a hand pushed seed drill was manufactured around 1880 by H. Bushell & Sons in the York area. It consists of a metal frame with a large conical wheel at the front, a drill to carve the furrow behind and a small square seed box above with a hinged lid, carved with the manufacturers name. Attached to the handle is a lever which opens a small flap and releases a seed.
When we look around our farming communities today, at the machinery that is used across our countryside, you would be forgiven for thinking that agricultural techniques have continued to develop and evolve. In fact since these early designs in the 1700s, the theory has remained pretty much the same. It is the technology that has developed, allowing multiple rows to be drilled in a fraction of the time.