Fertilizing your field in the early 20th century could be messy work! Some farmers spread a thin layer of nutrient-laden manure over their fields to enrich the soil for their crops. Although this machine may look like a wagon because it’s been cleaned up, it is actually a manure spreader built specifically for the mucky job.

Farmers piled manure high into the bed and attached a team of horses to the front. The bottom of the bed works like a conveyer belt, slowly moving the manure towards the back of the spreader. At the back are beater bars with spikes that rotate as the machine moves. With each rotation, the spikes stick into the manure pulling it off the spreader and flinging it into the field behind them.

If agriculture is a business, does this work make farmers “entre-manures?”

Wanna see it in action? Watch this video to see how a family farm uses a similar manure spreader in their fields.

[Image] Manure Spreader, 1910-1925. Made by John Deere. Accession# 1984-67.5.

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