The seed fiddle, by mechanising the process of broadcast sowing, gave a more controlled and even spread than hand broadcasting. They may still be used for seeding odd bits of land or corners of a field which the tractor-dawn seed drill cannot reach.
The seed, carried in a container slung from the shoulder, drops through a gate oscillated by crank action non to a disc that is spun rapidly by a bowing movement of the leather cord. By slacking this cord on the return stroke of the bow the operator is able to keep the disc spinning always in a same direction.
The extent to which the gate opens ma be adjusted to suit various types of seed. It is also possible to shut the gate completely when desired.