Model of Small's wooden plough


Model of Small's wooden plough, 1763, copied from original model in the Royal Scottish Museum

James Small was one of the pioneers who applied analytical methods to the problems of plough, and in particular mouldboard design.

He produced a plough in Scotland in 1963 which was believed to have been evolved from a combination of the Rotherham plough, known in Scotland as the Dutch plough, and the old heavy Scotch plough. He first covered the wooden mouldboard with iron sheet, but later was the first in Scotland to use a cast iron mouldboard.

Although Small's plough was a great improvement on the earlier types, the initial introduction was difficult. This was probably due to the rather concave mouldboard, a form not always suitable for certain types of soil. This concavity of the mouldboard may be considered the plough's characteristics when co pared with its contemporaries.

At length Small entered it for comparative trials with some of the best existing ploughs, both Scottish and English, and as a result of its success on that occasion, its use spread rapidly throughout the British Isles,


Agricultural Engineering
Object Number:
metal (unknown) and wood (unidentified)
  • visual and verbal communication
  • tools and equipment
  • equipment

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