Nelson Pioneer Farm artifacts - Oskaloosa Herald: Local News

Nelson Pioneer Farm artifacts

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:50 pm

This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm was a Lightning Seeder.

A couple people made a correct guess of the artifact. On email, Dorothy Vos wrote: “The artifact in the Wed. Shopper is a grass seeder.  You put the seed in the bag, and hang on to the handle and swing it back and forth.  The seed comes out of the small spout and is spread evenly on the ground.”

On Facebook, Ron Barrett wrote: “Seed planter?”

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact: “Original Lightening Seeder

To the people of Golden, Il., H.H. Franzen was known for two things. He became noteworthy when he applied for permission to shoot blackbirds that roost over his house at night. He was granted permission by the Village Board provided he did the shooting himself. The second thing was the invention and manufacture of the Lightning Seed Sower somewhere around 1870.

The manufacturing company was later sold to Wm. M. Gronewold, who continued to manufacture the “hose” sower at the “Original Lightning Seed Sower” until the mid 1920s. Labeling boldly stated that the sower was manufactured by Wm. M. Gronewold, Golden, ILL. Successor of H.H. Franzen.

A knapsack seeder consisted of a canvas bag and shoulder strap. Many varieties of the knapsack were common for the farmer scattering seed across the plowed field. This one add an 18” telescoping metal hose which allowed the farmer to scatter seeds quickly and more precisely than hand scattering. Broadcast seeders were cranked by hand, turning ridged wheels that scattered seed across a broad area. These types of seeders were mostly used for grass seeds.”

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, People can make a guess on what they think the object could be.

People can either email their guess to 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


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