Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Checking out a 1953 issue of Electricity on the Farm

This advertisement is featured on the back cover of the May 1953 issue of Electricity on the Farm, a magazine that was published by Case-Shepperd-Mann Publishing Co. beginning in 1927. It took decades, obviously, to get American farmers hooked up with proper electricity and proper running water systems. So I suppose Electricity on the Farm was there throughout, telling farmers how to modernize their operations and letting advertisers pitch to them the wide variety of products that were available.

The advertisement, which does not tout any specific company, shows how an electric water system can help farmers establish irrigation systems, fire protection, watering units for livestock, and better household plumbing. The ad copy states: "A growing farm needs a growing supply of running water at the turn of a tap. An out-of-date water system will slow down production ... cost you time and labor ... impair the health and safety of your family."

Elsewhere, this magazine from 61 years ago has articles titled "Better Drying for Better Hay," "Lightning Protection Factors," "Automatic Cattle Feeder," "One Man Seed Drier," and "Hot Biscuits Mmmm!"1 There are advertisements for De Laval combine milkers, ClearStream pipes, Master-Bilt refrigeration systems, and wagon unloaders made by the Flinchbaugh Company of York, Pennsylvania!2

The magazine also includes this note from editor W.J. Ridout Jr.:
In Yugoslavia, defeat has been conceded in the effort of the government to collectivize farming. From what we hear agriculture is well along the road back to private ownership in that country. Stubborn resistance is also taking place in the Russian satellite countries. The farmers in these countries will certainly draw new strength from the victory scored in Yugoslavia. Without freedom, incentive is lost, with incentive, hope is lost.
And what about private ownership and farming in the United States today? Tom Philpott of Mother Jones is one reporter who has done a good job covering this topic. He points out that while there is no doubt that behemoths such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill are the main players on the agriculture scene3, the actual farming is still overwhelmingly handled by "family farms." But Philpott also notes that we are moving into a new phase in which financial firms are eyeing up the purchase of U.S. farmland because it represents a "reassuringly tangible commodity."

Circling back to the idea of modernizing farms and upgrading their water systems, the issues nowadays have shifted and are focused on electrical energy efficiency on farms and the reality that water is an endangered resource that is already at the center of some of the biggest battles in the United States.

Related posts

1. Secret ingredient for a batch of tasty biscuits: ¼ teaspoon mustard
2. Flinchbaugh, founded in 1936, is still going strong here in York County.
3. For a sad giggle, check out the comments section on the recent io9 post titled: "Could An Evil Mega-Corporation Ever Exist In Real Life?"

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