Jethro Tull’s Seed Drill Facts

A key invention during the British Agricultural Revolution, the seed drill allowed for a semi-automated, controlled distribution and plantation of wheat seed.

Designed by renowned agriculturalist Jethro Tull in 1701, the drill went on to spawn many other mechanized planters and ploughs, which many of today’s agricultural tools and vehicles are descendents of.

The drill – which was made from elm wood and consisted of a wheeled wooden frame -worked by carving three channels into the earth into which seeds were dropped from containers at regular intervals.

The seeds, once dropped by the horse-drawn drill, were then covered by the harrow (a trailing bar), which gathered soil and evenly deposited it over the channels.

Facts about Seed Drill

Seed boxes – Sitting at the bottom of the hoppers, these boxes distributed the seeds at set intervals.

Hoppers – The drill’s hoppers were chute-like containers that held the seeds en masse. They dropped from here into the seed boxes for scattering.

Facts about Seed DrillTines – The tines helped split up earthen clods gathered during operation, ensuring fluidity of movement.

Sheats – Three wooden, angled funnels, which carved the planting channels as well as guided seeds into them from the seed box.

Spindles – The spindles held the drills wheels and hoppers in the correct positions for even distribution.

Harrow – The harrow covered the seeds with soil once deposited in the cut channels.

Standards – The standards held the spindles – and therefore the drill’s wheels – perpendicular to the sheats and level.

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