Keep them Handy: Manual Tools on the Farm
Farming has experienced numerous changes since the days of plowing fields with oxen and planting seeds by hand. Although the days of getting your hands dirty are far from gone, it’s no surprise that many of the manual tools that shaped the farming industry have been replaced with more advanced alternatives. This is especially true for large-scale operations. Today, farmers have access to a wide range of machinery and technology that makes their work simpler, faster, and more precise, introducing a sense of efficiency and modernity to the industry. However, even with all the great advances of today, manual tools still hold a significant place in everyday activities.
Cost-efficient and simple, manual tools can help farmers in a variety of tasks during planting, cultivating, and harvesting seasons. Unlike mechanized equipment, which relies on an electric or fuel power source, manual tools only need the user’s strength to function and can be lighter and easier to transport by hand. They can be great allies in working on limited or small spaces and can help support small-scale farming operations that do not require complex, heavy machinery, helping users save their budget.
Despite their benefits, their proper use relies on the human factor in ways mechanized tools don’t. For manual tools, functionality depends on the strength and stamina of the user, as well as their knowledge of the land and how to best apply the tool for the desired results. As such, using them can be a physically exhausting and time-consuming endeavor. However, having manual tools at hand, even when relying on mechanical equipment, remains a great alternative that can aid in operations even when you run out of gas!
Adapting to Change
Manual tools have been used throughout history for various tasks, including farming, construction, and crafting, playing a vital role in shaping the world we live in today. From the earliest days of human civilization, manual tools have been used to clear land, build shelters, and create objects that are essential to our survival.
Many valuable and critical manual tools are needed in a farmer’s kit. Depending on your operations, you may have just the basics or ample storage of different sizes and functions, and you may rely on them depending on your requirements. Some of these tools have very interesting backgrounds; for example, hoes are considered one of the oldest farming tools, and hoe farming is recorded as one of the oldest forms of agriculture. On the other hand, shovels date back to the Neolithic age, and in their earliest form, they were made from animal shoulder blade bones intended to remove soil and dirt. Plows were invented in ancient Mesopotamia and were later adapted by cultures such as the ancient Egyptians—who are credited with the invention of the scythe — Greeks, and Romans.
Most interestingly, wheelbarrows had no initial connection to agriculture. Although some evidence suggests earlier versions of this tool, the first historical records of wheelbarrows date back to third-century China, where they were used to cart supplies into battlefields and transport wounded soldiers out of the conflict. Some historians have also suggested that a version of the wheelbarrow existed in Ancient Greece, likely to load construction materials.
As these tools have evolved and adjusted, it’s easy to understand why today’s usage differs from what they were initially designed for or even made with. However, it is essential to remember that although simpler, manual tools still require care and maintenance to perform at their best. Despite mechanical tools taking most of a farmer’s attention, periodically inspecting the toolbox will help keep everything sharp and ready to use. A thorough cleaning and proper storage can significantly reduce the likelihood of rust and wear caused by humidity and debris. This, coupled with regularly greasing — paying close attention to hinges, joints, and other moving parts —, and sharpening, will ensure a longer useful life with better results.
And the Wheels Keep Turning!
Manual tools have been a crucial part of farming for centuries, allowing farmers to cultivate and harvest their crops effectively. From the simple hand plow of ancient times to the advanced tractors and combines of today, manual tools have played a vital role in the development of modern agriculture.
As the world continues to evolve and bring more and more technological advances to make our lives easier and operations more efficient, keeping your equipment protected will remain a vital part of the agricultural process. At VISCOSITY Oil Company, we know that no effort is too much when it comes to the upkeep of your tools, so we will continue moving forward with you to bring the ultimate protection for your equipment for all seasons! Learn more about our solutions in our product section and keep working in fluid motion with the best protection formulated for ALL.


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