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Tag: farms

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

One of the challenges of working at a historical society is coming across objects that do not have clear provenance or purpose. This week’s Object Spotlight focuses on a gunny sack that is difficult to completely decipher. The reusable bag is made of tightly woven cotton or hemp fibers. Printed on one side of the sack is “A. F. Schiebe.” Schiebe is a common name in Plymouth history. The likeliest original owner of the sack would be Albert Frank Schiebe…

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Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

At the Plymouth Historical Society, we have a box of fish hook hog rings made by Decker Manufacturing Company. This company was established in 1878 and is still around today. Originally the company worked predominately with barbed wire, but has since developed many different agricultural products. It is difficult to tell how old the box is, but it is clear the rings must have had some practical purpose on the farm. In fact, nearly the same exact product is still…

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Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Less than 1% of the population today are farmers. In 1920, it was 30%. What was life like 100 years ago? This is a question I have had ever since I began volunteering at the Plymouth Historical Society. My reasons for asking this question were varied. First, I wanted to better understand my family history — a history deeply tied to agriculture. My father is still farming in Wisconsin many years after his ancestors arrived in the 1830s. I grew…

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Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

I recently came across a photograph at the Plymouth Historical Society that caught my eye. It depicted a man standing in front of an automobile in 1930. The vehicle was barely visible underneath the massive pile of hay on top of what was likely a hay wagon. A small three-pronged fork sat beside the pile and a open barn door was to the rear of the hay pile. If you look closely, a small building sits to the right front…

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Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Museums often advertise white glove tours. These special tours provide guests with opportunities to touch museum artifacts. The cotton gloves protect the artifacts from oils and fingerprints and protect the wearer from any harmful substances that might be found on the artifacts. At the Plymouth History Museum, we wear blue nitrile gloves to protect ourselves and our artifacts from harm. These gloves came in handy the other day when we came across a seemingly harmless keg. It was clear that…

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Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

I spent some time talking to my father this past week about what he knew of life in the early 1900s. I asked him questions about Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods and was somewhat surprised by his response. His ancestors were not doing much of what Taylor talked about because even if they knew of it, it was likely impractical for them to implement. The process of innovation is often very slow. Taylor and his fellow researchers had great ideas, but…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fifth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 5. The need to pursue knowledge and innovation For some reason the label “dumb farmer” has been attached to many of those whose life work is a farmer. The reasons why can only be speculated. The best guess is that many farmers never went to college and may have even missed out…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fourth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 4. Creating and Managing a Profitable Herd Any business owner knows this simple fact: if you cannot consistently produce a profit, your business will ultimately fail. Taylor gave many tips to help dairymen maximize their profits with their herd. Taylor’s first tip focused on the…

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Plymouth Fire Department’s First Fire Call

Plymouth Fire Department’s First Fire Call

Looking through a donation of materials from the Plymouth Fire Department, one of our Board members found a booklet commemorating the Department’s 25th Anniversary in 1985. The following text is an excerpt from Francis C. Bauer’s history of the Plymouth Fire Department, printed within the booklet. It describes the Department’s first fire call which took place 3 days before official service began on January 1, 1960. The First Fire Call The first fire alert – a large farm house west…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the third of 5 blog posts on this subject. 3. Proper Germ Management  The world today has become obsessed with bacteria. With the knowledge that disease spreads through these microorganisms, the natural response is to kill all bacteria. No one will argue that bacteria can be incredibly harmful. The recent E. coli outbreak associated…

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