Grindvold turns old plow into family heirloom

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the May 21, 2017 issue of the Cedar County News. If you want news when its news, get the Cedar County News E Edition. It’s free to all Cedar County News print subscribers. Check it out here


HARTINGTON — A piece of farm equipment in the front yard of a Hartington home brings back memories of horse powered farming.

John Grindvold has restored the single row cultivator he had used when he was a kid growing up on a farm northwest of Hartington.

Grindvold would sit on the metal seat while a team of two horses pulled the cultivator down the row of corn.

Johns’s dad, Ludvig Grindvold, purchased the cultivator for his son in the early 1930s – probably sometime in 1931 or 1932.

“I was eleven years old when dad bought the cultivator for me. I was so excited,” Grindvold said. “He got it so I could help with the work. It is built so a younger person can run it. The wheels are lower so when I was sitting on the cultivator seat, the dirt would not be blowing up in my face.”

Back in the early 1930s, Grindvold’s dad did have a small tractor he used for some of the farming but he liked to use horses to do the cultivating.

The “New Century” leverless, No. 3 single row cultivator was manufactured in 1930 by the Roderick Lean Co. in Mansfield, Ohio.

Features for the “New Century” cultivator included “no levers, no springs, always in balance”.

Advertisements stated “Any boy can handle the “New Century” and do a man’s work”.

In 1930, the price for the cultivator was $15.95. Customers were given the chance to purchase the “New Century” cultivator for the reduced price of $15.79.

During the 1940’s, more and more of the draft horses were being replaced by tractors. Eventually a lot of the horse powered equipment ended up out in the grove on the family farms.

Grindvold had been thinking about doing something with the old family “New Century” cultivator for a number of years. He knew it would need some work as it was out in the trees on the farm.

Grindvold’s wife had wanted him to restore the cultivator and display it in the back yard of their home a number of years ago.

The restored cultivator is now sitting in front of the Grindvold home in Hartington.

“I brought it into town piece by piece,” he said. “It was all there except for the tongue and levers which had been wood. They had to be replaced.”

Grindvold sanded each piece and then spray painted the pieces. Using some of his wood working skills and tools, he fashioned a new tongue and levers for the cultivator. A small wood peg is in place above the two shovels just like it had been when Grindvold had used the cultivator when he was a kid.

“They used a wood peg so if it hit a rock the wood peg would break and not the cultivator,” Grindvold said.

The cultivator is also back to its original colors of green, yellow and red.

The newly restored “New Century” one row cultivator, with the bright, shiny colors, definitely catches the attention of anyone driving by the Grindvold home.

“I like to see it this way – fixed up and painted,” Grindvold said.

The cultivator will eventually be moved back out to the family farm and be placed in the yard near the house.