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Plough


For the asterism known as "The Plough"...see: Ursa Major.
The plough (American spelling: plow) is a tool used in farming for turning the earth in which one is to plant new seeds. The plough is a development of the pick, and was initially pulled by oxen or humans, and later horses. Modern ploughs are, in industrialized countries, powered by tractors.

Ploughing has several beneficial effects. The major reason for plowing is to incorporate the residue from the previous crop into the soil. Plowing also reduces the prevalence of weeds in the fields, and makes the soil more porous, easing later planting.

The early German word before sound-shift is plug and in Old Prussian plugis. After the German sound shift (p = pf) it became the modern German word Pflug.

The early scratch-ploughs were simple forked branches and the plugis, recorded in Elbing, Prussia had to be used twice, once horizontal, then vertical. Later developed mold-board ploughs turned the soil in one run across the field, depositing the weeds under the soil, and raising the rain percolated nutrients to the surface.

The first commercially successful iron plough was the Rotherham plough[?], developed by Joseph Foljambe[?] in Rotherham, England, in 1730. It was durable and light, and was engineered after the mathematical principles of James Small[?], who designed a mouldboard that would cut, lift and fully turn over the earth.

Steel plows were developed during the industrial revolution, and were lighter and more durable than plows made of iron or wood. The first of these were walking plows, having two handles held by the operator to provide a degree of control over the depth and location of the furrow. Riding plows with wheels and a seat for the operator came later, and often had more than one share.

Ploughs are assumed to be of non-Indo-European origin, as shown in early documents from the Middle-East. Stone-age[?] petroglyphs[?] show ploughs and oxen being used in the Alpine countries and Egyptian paintings of plows occur in farming scenes.

Plough Parts

Frame Frog Share or Moldboard Landside Handles Hitch Doubletree

On modern plows and some older plows, the moldboard is separate from the shin and bottom, allowing these parts to be replaced without replacing the moldboard. Abrasion eventually destroys all parts of a plow that contact the soil.

See also: Aratrum (Ancient Greek plough)



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