Midwest Plow

Posted on November 6, 2013. Filed under: Art | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Art - plowI thoroughly enjoyed the latest issue of Smithsonian entitled:  101 Objects that Made America.  Here I read about the John Deer plow that the Smithsonian owns.  It was revolutionary because he redesigned the plow for the sticky mud of the Midwest.  Previous to this plows were not so curved and sculptural because they had to work with rocky soil.

This got me thinking about the old plow we have lying in a heap in the woods.  I pulled it up and had a good look at it.  I definitely have a descendant of that John Deere, because the heavy iron of the plow is beautifully curved to “scour” the heavy earth as it was dragged behind a horse.  This makes sense since it came from here, Wisconsin, in the middle of the country.

I agree with the author of the plow article, Ian Frazier, who states, “Beyond its bold utility, the plow qualifies as different categories of art.  It is sculpture:  The lambent black of its wrought-iron surface and the sinuous twist of its shape prefigure the abstract steel sculptures of the 20th century.”

This was fun to do – look at something I already have in a new light.  I appreciate this implement for it’s beautiful lines in the here and now.  I also appreciate this implement for how it helped to make farming more productive for my ancestors.

Just a side note:  While I enjoyed aspects of the magazine,  I was really annoyed by how they photographed many of the objects in such dramatic lighting you could hardly see the thing and also some of the objects weren’t photographed at all but rather rendered in drawings!  The whole point of this issue was to show these 101 objects, but many of them are impossible to see well.  Ridiculous!

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2 Responses to “Midwest Plow”

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Are you going to offer it to a museum?

No, Tim, these are pretty common around here! No museum would want it. A lot of the farmland of the Midwest has become housing development so these are relegated to lawn ornaments, and even where there is still farming it is accomplished with heavy machinery, nothing pulled by horses unless you are an Amish farmer.


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