I know how much I look forward to receiving gardening catalogs. They usually start coming in January when there’s often still snow on the ground. For us, gardening is a hobby. For people over 100 years ago, their garden’s survival often meant their own survival.
I found this single wheel garden cultivator image in an old seed catalog from 1889. As you can see, they were selling this cultivator for $5.00. It came with 2 cutting blades, 2 plows, and 5 stirring teeth made of the “best steel.” The wheel and the handles of this “GEM” were adjustable.
The seed catalog went on to boast that out of 10,000 machines sold (this model and a two-wheeled version), less than five have been returned. Buy six of them at once and you could get a 20% discount. The catalog suggested getting clubs together to enjoy the bulk discount.
Seems to me that here we are over 120 years later and the tools we use to garden haven’t really changed all that much. I know I could go down to our local Ace Hardware and find something not all that different to this garden cultivator. That’s why I think it’s such a wonderful vintage gardening image – it looks like something from yesterday but also something that you might find in your own garden.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.