AN ORIGINAL CHARACTER
Nearly a century ago Frederick Altman commenced, and continued for some years, the manufacture of plows with wooden moldboards. He advertised in the Kittanning Gazette, Sept. 21, 1825, that he was then making half-patent plows, that is, those with cast-iron moldboards and wrought-iron colters. His plows of both kinds are still remembered as having been excellent ones. The locality where he made them is in the northern part of Burrell township, near the head of a spring run which empties into Pine run above its junction with Crooked creek.
Altman must have been endowed with a good degree of mechanical ingenuity and inventive genius. Besides guns and other things, he made a good pocket-knife with twelve blades, and invented an auger with a chisel attachment, by which he bored holes in his wooden moldboards, etc., which were nearly square. He was certainly eccentric enough to have been a man of genius. One of his eccentricities was his constant refraining from speaking to any of his children. Their mother was the medium of communication from him to them, except on one occasion, which was when he and one or more of them were going to Kittanning in a wagon. When they were descending, or about to descend a hill he said to his son Isaac, in German, perhaps involuntarily, "Nun yetz der wagon must gespert sein!" "Now the wagon must be locked," equivalent to "down brakes."
Threshers began to be used in 1849, and reapers and mowing machines came into use about 1860. The sulky rake was introduced in 1863. One of the reasons for the slow adoption of these labor-saving machines was the extremely broken surface of the country. As the methods of soil culture become more advanced the use of machines gains greater headway, and they are made more adaptable to the peculiarities of our farm structure.
Source: Page(s) 19 - 23,
Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present Volume I, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed June 1998 by Michael S. Caldwell for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Published 1998 by the Armstrong County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project