|Cataloged by||Elspeth Kuta|
Before the planters of the 1850s, farmers carried a sack of seed corn on their shoulder and used a stick to poke a hole in the soil where they then dropped seed. Hand-held planters evolved rapidly during the roughly 60-year period before large mechanical planters became commonplace. The hollow stick used by early farmers gave way to a one-hand unit with a trigger-release hopper. Next came units with two hoppers on the handle: one for seed and the other for fertilizer (some even planted corn and pumpkin seeds in one pass). Ultimately, the hand-held unit was relegated to garden use or to “fill in” gaps in fields.