Among the picturesque fields and orchards of the Somerset countryside, tractors work the land to produce a variety of crops which have formed the backbone of the economy of this area of southern England for many years. Few scenes can be more relaxing than such an agricultural setting with its farms, fields, birds and hedgerows. Climb a hill, take a moment to get your bearings, and enjoy the countryside laid out like a map before you.
From the times of the earliest settlers in our islands, these lands have been farmed for a variety of crops using a range of methods. Early farming techniques were very labour intensive, with only the most basic stone tools available, and in those days farmers often had to cultivate the ground with their bare hands. As the centuries went by, the domestication of animals and progress in the field of tool making made the farmers job much easier, but up until just a few hundred years ago most Somerset farms were still small, family run affairs which produced food mainly for the farmer’s family and maybe a small contingent of the local community.
As in so many other areas, the industrial revolution brought sweeping changes to the lives of agricultural communities in Somerset. Many new inventions flooded the market. One of the most significant developments during this time was that of bearings. Bearings are devices which allow two surfaces to pass over each other smoothly, with minimum friction, whilst remaining in full contact and retaining their ability to bear loads. The simplest types of bearings are shim bearings. These use a small piece of smooth material as a solid lubricant between moving surfaces. When the material has worn away, it can be replaced. Such new technology quickly began to make a difference to agricultural practices in Somerset.
More sophisticated types soon became available. One of the most obvious applications of bearings in our modern world is that of motor vehicles. High performance bearings allowed industrialists to create machines which went beyond the capabilities of the traditional horse and cart, and the first steam powered agricultural tractors came to Somerset in the early nineteenth century. This revolutionised farming practice. Many agricultural processes (like bailing, threshing, and planting) are one single mechanical action repeated over and over again. High quality bearings allow power from an engine – such as the one in a tractor – to be transferred to machinery which can perform these tasks with minimal intervention from human operators. The machines can do their jobs much more quickly, efficiently and consistently than a human ever could.
Agricultural practice has thus changed dramatically in recent centuries. Horse drawn farming equipment has vanished from thee fields of Somerset, to be replaced by a bewildering variety of diesel powered machinery. These modern techniques allow farms to produce our food with ever improving efficiency. And since all these machines must be carefully maintained, it’s good to know Frome Bearings and Belts Ltd supply components for all types of agricultural equipment