A recent open house (July 16) at the Museum showcased agricultural implements manufactured by the Ames Plow Company. The Ames Plow Company was a later incarnation of the Ruggles, Norse & Mason Company, established prior to 1835 in Shrewsbury, Mass. Over time the company grew and took over a space at Quincy Hall in Boston. In 1861 the existing partners were succeeded by Oliver Ames & Sons. Items advertised in their catalogue included carts, wagons, trucks, wheelbarrows, contractors’ supplies, and ice tools. In 1866, a branch was incorporated at 53 Beekman Street in New York City. In 1874, a large new factory was built in Worcester, Mass. The firm was related to the Ames Shovel Company, also known as Ames Tool Company.
One of the implements displayed at the EHS&M is a corn sheller. It removes the grain from dry ears of corn; the kernels fall into a bucket underneath the device. The corn can be fed to livestock or used for other purposes. It was very popular in New England.
Corn shellers come in different sizes.
Found in a barn on Lincoln Street in North Easton, the Lawn Hand Cart shown below was restored at Southeastern Regional School and has been returned to its original appearance. It was manufactured in two sizes and came with flaring sides and wide tires.
A Fan-Mill produced by the Ames Plow Company. Three models were The Boston Fan-Mill, The Improved Worcester Fan-Mill, and The Grant Fan-Mill. The Company also made fan-mills to sort coffee.
A Fan-Mill cleans grains and small seeds. It is an early farm machine, separating the grain from the chaff and straw with a breeze. The fan is hand-cranked and blows grain and chaff across vibrating screens.
According to Chaffin, in 1865 there were 91 farms in Easton. Grown were: Indian corn, wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, potatoes, English mowing hay, English hay, wet meadow hay, turnips, other vegetables, apple trees, and more. Livestock included: sheep, horses, oxen, steer, milch cows, heifers, goats. Take-aways- It wasn’t all that long ago that farming in Easton was common and much more labor intensive. These farming machines (Ames Plow Company) were all used by farmers in Easton to get their work done. And although the Ames family was known for manufacturing shovels, they were also involved in various other related enterprises.
All photos by Jon Coe.
Anne Wooster Drury
Anne Wooster Drury