Local News

July 10, 2013

Nelson Pioneer Farm artifact

Do you know what this is?


This past week's Nelson Pioneer Farm artifact was a spring-loaded potato planter.

Dorothy Vos, of Oskaloosa, knew what the artifact was. She sent an email with her guess of the artifact: “The pioneer farm artifact is a potato planter. The potato seed was dropped into the round wire cone. The person planting the potato’s used the handle to hang on to it and the piece going out from it was pulled up and released the seed into the furrow.”

Duane Turner sent a Facebook response with the correct answer. He said: “How about a potato planter.


Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did a little research on the artifact: “Manufactured by Dobbins Manufacturer Co. North St. Paul, Minn. - Elkhart, Ind.

'Metal Dobbins Ware Super Bilt'

This vintage hand-style, spring loaded potato planter was manufactured between 1939 and 1949 by Dobbins Manufacturer Co. in Elkhart, Ind. The business had moved to Indiana from Minnesota just prior to the start of World War II. They manufactured small tools for the home garden, with an emphasis on sprayers and pesticide equipment.

The potato planter was designed for home garden use. The gardener loaded the chamber with seed potatoes. First placing the tip firmly in the prepared soil, the gardener lifted the lever with the toe. This opened the tip and a potato dropped into the soil. This labor saving device is patterned after the corn planters that were popular during the late 19th century.”


The Oskaloosa Herald and the Nelson Pioneer Farm are teaming up to test your knowledge of historical artifacts.

The Nelson Pioneer Farm has about 15,000 artifacts in its collection spanning in age from the 1840s to the present.

The Herald will take a picture of an artifact and publish it in the Herald section of the Oskaloosa Shopper, The Oskaloosa Herald an the Herald's Web site, www.oskaloosa.com. People can make a guess on what they think the object could be.

People can either email their guess to oskynews@oskyherald.com or mail their guess to The Oskaloosa Herald, P.O. Box 530, Oskaloosa, IA 52577. You can vote from Wednesday through Saturday.

The identity of the artifact and the vote breakdown will be announced in each Wednesday's Herald Shopper along with the week's new artifact.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com

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