Edward Huber To Be Honored At Steam Show in Marion

| June/July 1995

3203 Norton Road Radnor, Ohio 43066

From earliest Colonial times, searching for more progressive approaches to the business of farming practices has concerned our leaders as well as the common farmer. Ben Franklin, as early as 1743, and his fellow members of the American Philosophical Society discussed ways to improve agriculture and animal husbandry for the betterment of this country. George Washington, at Mount Vernon, employed such farming techniques as diversification of crops and soil conservation practices and he made use of new farming tools as they were introduced. Thomas Jefferson, designer of the mould board plow, built a seed drill and improved on an early threshing machine.

The tools of cultivation used by the earliest of Colonial America's farmers were axes, hoes, spades and grubbing hooks. Those used in harvest were the sickle, scythe, cradle and flail. All required the physical strength of man to operate, and put severe restraints upon the size of a crop a man could plant, cultivate and reap.

As settlers spread across the country, discovering the vast fertile plains, unimpeded by trees, which were ready and awaiting their pleasure, farmers began to realize how limited they were with only crude hand tools and horse-drawn plows unsuited for this sod. America's farmers wanted better tools.

With the development of special plows, tilling and seed drilling equipment the work of horses and oxen replaced that of man as a major source of power on American farms, enabling farmers to produce more and to more easily feed the growing population of the country. Finally, instead of the farmer carrying his crude tools to the fields, he himself was hauled there sitting upon his tools, his 'modern farming equipment,' and for the first time some farming operations could be accomplished while the farmer sat down. Many tried to invent equipment for every aspect of farming life. Few succeeded. One of these successful innovators was Edward Huber. Born in 1837, he died in 1904, a span of only 67 years. Yet during that short time he made a profound difference on the American farm scene. He was a blacksmith living in Indiana when he devised a revolving hay rake. This rake, made of wood, was drawn by horses across a field of cut hay and would gather the hay into the revolving mechanism until it was full, then the hay was dumped into a pile. Later these piles would be pitched onto a hay wagon. Mr. Huber, at the age of 26, was granted a patent for this machine in 1863. This was his first. In his lifetime he was granted over one hundred patents for his inventions.

He found that ash and hickory were the best woods to use in the manufacture of his hay rake. John Hammerle, his wife Elizabeth's brother, told him that these trees grew in abundance in and around the little town of Marion, Ohio, so he moved his operations there in 1865, the year that marked the end of the Civil War.