18 November 2014

Weir Sulky Plow

The 1886 estate inventory of Andrew Trask in Mercer County, Illinois, contained a detail that is not always included: the manufacturer of several of the pieces of farm equipment. Modifiers of this type make it possible for the researcher to learn a little more about the item in question.

A "Weir Sulkey[sic] plow" was valued at $10 and was one of a handful of items in the Trask estate for which a little more background information could be obtained. 

A search on GenealogyBank located several references to the Weir company, one of which is shown below. This article appeared in the Daily Inter Ocean and included brief summary of the Weir Plow Company based in Monmouth, Illinois. Given the proximity of Monmouth to Mercer County, Illinois, it seems pretty reasonable that this is the company that manufactured the sulky plow that was inventoried among Andrew's items.

 A sulky plow is one that has an actual seat for the user instead of requiring the user to walk behind it. Weir patented the plow in 1877 as evidenced by the illustration contained in his patent application that was obtained on Google Patents:

W. S. Weir, Sulkey-Plow, Patent No. 190,652 Patented May-8, 1877;
digital image from Google Patents (http://patents.google.com) obtained 18 November 2014
I knew what a plow was, but wasn't quite certain what a "sulkey-plow" was until I started doing a little searching. And I got a history lesson besides.