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Early rotary tillers -- other makes


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Around 1845 an English lawyer named Hoskyns wrote: "It seems inefficient to utilise the rotating power of the steam engine for pulling a plough; it would be better to cultivate the soil by means of rotating tools."

In 1849 James Usher of Edinburgh, UK, patented this steam powered rotary tiller. It had three wheels (2 driven), and 5 rows of cultivating tools.

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András Mechwart (left) of Hungary constructed this steam powered cultivator in 1894. It had an 18 hp engine and weighed 20,000 kg. The cultivator worked 150 cm wide and max. 33 cm deep. The tractor was produced by Ganz & Co. in Budapest, Hungary.


Ábrahám Ganz (1814 - 1867)
Swiss-born Ábrahám Ganz arrived to Hungary in August 1841 to apply for a job in the new Pest Cylinder Mill Company, which was just to install its new engine and milling machines. As a new plant manager, Ganz introduced "double-casting" for surfacing the milling rolls. His technical inventions earned recognition and he soon set up his own iron foundry. In 1867, his plant, equipped with seven large furnaces and 150 finishing machines, produced more than 100,000 railway wheels and hundreds of milling equipment. Distraught by family problems, Ganz committed suicide at the end of that year. The management of his factory was taken over by András Mechwart, who led the company to world fame.

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Mechwart also constructed a lighter model, powered by a Bànki paraffin engine, developing 12 hp at 420 rpm. It's weight was only 3300 kg and it was also produced by Ganz & Co. Both models used some sort of plough blades as cultivating tools.


András Mechwart (1834 - 1907)
One of the most prominent figures in Hungarian industrial history was born in Schweinfurt, Bavaria. Andreas Mechwart obtained his diploma in engineering in Augsburg, and from 1855 worked as an engineer in Nürnberg. In 1859 Ábrahám Ganz invited him to Hungary, and he became Ganz's chief plant manager. After Ganz's death Mechwart headed the Ganz factory as managing director for 25 years. He was an outstanding technical innovator and expert in economics, and as a result of his great developments and modernization, the company turned out to be a world-class establishment. By the turn of the century, the factory of 60 became a giant concern employing 6000 persons.
Mechwart was co-author of many inventions. Two of his own most important patents relate to the roller mill and the rotary plough. On the roller frame which is the most important part of the mill, he changed the porcelain rollers to chilled cast iron rolls, which milled the grain much more finely. "Mechwart´s hard-cast roller mill" , built in 1875, broke the cleaned and scoured wheat gradually into smaller peaces through eight or nine subsequent phases. The middlings were then assorted by size and specific weight, and the pure grits milled into white, bran-free flour (Mechwart´s roller mill is on exhibit at the Deutsches Museum). The mills were exported to several countries. By 1907, more than 30,000 roller mills were manufactured. In exporting these mass-produced rolling mills around the world, the Hungarian milling industry's reputation was decisively established.
His rotary plough was also an excellent structure, but its bulky size and considerable price hindered its general use. All Mechwart's life's work - his activities as inventor and factory developer - have defined European technical culture.
Sources: Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency and Hungarian Patent Office.

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The paraffin powered Mechwart cultivator in an even lighter(?) version, as shown in the Deutsches Landwirtschaftsmuseum in Hohenheim, Germany.


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Landbau-Motor, Patent Köszegi, built in Hungary from 1905. The inventor was Hungarian Karol Köszegi, whose purpose of this new way of cultivating was to lower the cost of bread by 70 %. The tiller was powered by a 70 hp four cilinder Kämper engine, which was started by means of compressed air. From 1909 the Landbau-Motor, Patent Köszegi was made by engine manufacturer Kämper in Berlin, Germany.


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From 1909 further prototypes of the Landbau-Motor, Patent Köszegi were made by engine manufacturer Kämper in Berlin, Germany. The engine was placed in a 90 degrees angle to the tractor, propulsion as well as the tiller drive were by means of chains. In 1912, the patents for this tractor were bought by Lanz of Mannheim, Germany.


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The Landbaumotor Lanz, System Köszegi was built by Lanz in Mannheim, Germany from 1912. It had a 80 hp 4 cilinder petrol engine and a hydraulic lift for the cultivator. It weighed 4800 kg. Lanz modified the Kämper tractor, they placed the engine in line with the tractor and replaced the chain drives by friction clutches. The first 20 tractors still had Kämper engines.


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A Landbaumotor Lanz, System Köszegi cultivating sandy soil.

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The Lanz attachment for tilling sandy soil.

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The Landbaumotor Lanz, System Köszegi version for cultivating peat-moor areas, seen from the rear.

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Lanz Landbaumotor in working order, as shown on the Nordhorn tractor show in 2017.


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This is a Universal-Landbau-Motor rotary tiller, attached to a Berna tractor. The tractor was constructed by Motorwagenfabrik Berna AG in Olten, Switzerland during and directly after World War I. Berna gained wide knowledge for their touringcars and trucks.

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The Faktotum.


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Comfräsch caterpillar rotary cultivator, built from 1924 till 1931 in Berlin. Comfräsch was a daughter company of Dürkopp-Werke AG in Bielefeld in cooperation with the carburettor manufacturer Pierburg. The Comfräsch was equiped with a four cilinder Dürkopp engine developing 50 hp at 800 rpm. It weighed 2800 kg.


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The Comfräsch had an engine powered mechanical lift for the cultivator. This could be replaced by other attachments, i.e. a plough. The tractor was designed to cultivate German's peat-moor areas.

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