The 19th century – that time of agricultural change and innovation

A couple of days ago I shared an excerpt from my latest Radwinter book; I’m about halfway through and my character Thomas is investigating the family tree of a mega-wealthy family called the de Robespierres – totally fictitious and not based on any real people with a similar name. Thomas comes across the reason for their wealth, from village blacksmiths to whitesmiths to small engineering work, they rose to become major industrialists, making agricultural machinery in the middle of the nineteenth century. This was exactly when the world  was changing at a hectic and unstoppable rate.

This follows of from my previous excerpt – and it is a very rough first draft:

The nineteenth century – that century of change and innovation, and landowners and farmers became more open to change and innovation, and when the Robespierres were still ag labs (agricultural labourers) in the 1830’s there were some what must have been seen as revolutionary designs. Previously there were mainly the two designs for drills, a cup feed and a force feed drill was what every go-ahead farmer would have,  something which would sow the seeds along with manure to nourish them as they grew! And by the time the Robespierres were making their way in the industrial world, most of the things you can see with a modern drill were there… well, you could see if you knew what a modern drill looked like, which I don’t, being a townie
The nineteenth century – that century of change and innovation, and landowners and farmers became more open to change and innovation, and when the Robespierres were still ag labs (agricultural labourers) in the 1830’s there were some what must have been seen as revolutionary designs. Previously there were mainly the two designs for drills, a cup feed and a force feed drill was what every go-ahead farmer would have,  something which would sow the seeds along with manure to nourish them as they grew! And by the time the Robespierres were making their way in the industrial world, most of the things you can see with a modern drill were there… well, you could see if you knew what a modern drill looked like, which I don’t, being a townie.
Tractors, cake crushers, binders, cutting and threshing, potato diggers, chaff cutters… no wonder farm workers were careless with the machines, machines which were taking their jobs, their livelihoods and not doubt their pride and self-worth. Away from agriculture and the de Robespierre’s, textile and other factories drew people in from the countryside and gave them work, poorly paid dangerous work for men, women and children… But I’m running the risk of going completely off the point…
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that most of the ideas for mechanisation came from the USA, characters such as John Deere, Cyrus McCormick, Obed Hussey, Hart Massey, and later Harry Ferguson all changed the world forever with their different machines, and in the early days, (although the company was no longer owned by the family in the 1880’s), the de Robespierre machines were among them. Somehow, however, their contribution – and they did have some very revolutionary engineering ideas, became lost and forgotten.

Here’s a link to the first part: https://wp.me/p2hGAs-80p

… and here is a link to my other Radwinter books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-6-Book-Series/dp/B07FBJTPDP/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1549618308&sr=8-6&keywords=lois+elsden

 

6 Comments

  1. david lewis

    In it’s heyday our steel plant employed 12,000 people but today there are less than 4,000. Technology had a lot to do with it but also a trade deal with the USA in there favor. The new jobs are in the service sector with lower pay, fewer benefits and no pensions. I feel sorry for the young people as they can never hope to have what there parents or even grandparents had. I blame it all on the transistor and then the microchip. The old Chinese curse [ May you live in interesting times ] applied to my job in electronics. As you get older, change is harder to accept and I realized it was time to leave. No regrets except fora few health issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Yes, in many ways we lived in a golden age… of course my children think we had it tough – when we were their age no chance of owning your own home, no central heating, and of course – on internet!
      With industries like your steel plant, when they lose jobs it isn’t just those thousands of workers and their families who struggle, it’s all the service workers around them – hairdressers, shop workers, small shops, pubs/bars/restaurants – all are effected.

      Like

  2. david lewis

    When you think about your past the mind has a crafty way of bringing pleasant thoughts to the fore and obscuring or eliminating the pain and misery. It’s a self- defense mechanism I guess. I just think I had more fun than the young of today. But who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      I think I prefer the bathrooms/showers etc now – in the old days we just had a bath, and in shared accommodation that wasn’t always pleasant! There’s many more opportunities t travel now too… but it was an exciting time when things seemed to be getting better, and the world a better place… not so sure that’s true now!

      Like

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