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Old broadcast seeder

Antique broadcast seeder

Found this antique broadcast seeder hanging on a nail in the drive shed, the Cyclone Seed Sower, made in Urbana, Indiana, sometime way back when (patented 1925). The canvas is torn, but it’s otherwise in good working order. Dunno exactly when it was last used, in the last decade or two. With a little patching—in a hurry, even duct tape would work—and a few drops of oil, it’d be good to go. In this case, time hasn’t improved on design: this seeder is essentially identical to the modern version I use, except the cloth and wood and most of the metal have been replaced by plastic. Operation is simple: fill the bag with seed, adjust the size of the opening, and start walking while cranking the handle—seed hits the  plate and gets flung out by the ribs (here’s a more detailed description). Simple, then and now!



  1. I saw something very like this on a BBC program called The Victorian Farm a week ago. )

    The one they had hadn’t a crank, though; it had an affair like a violin bow that got pulled back and forth to turn the  seed distributor.  So that’d take it back to about 1900, at least.

  2. eva

    The antique one is better, has more class. And it can biodegrade.

  3. Very interesting – what works is what works, through the years. If it doesn’t work, its not likely to stick, no matter what the marketing attempts are.   Great find.

  4. Love that! Especially the fact that it biodegrades.  Clearly it is Good Design since your modern day one is the same.  Let us know how it works out when you use it to seed.

  5. Joyce

    Though so many would find it hard to imagine today, folks were inventive and mankind thriving without everything being made of plastic.  It’s strange to think that throughout history people were reaching out & moving toward the future we now inhabit, and more and more today are realizing that a great many “improvements” made through the years are in reality just the petroleum soaked, mass manufacturing of tools already common back then.

  6. Jane

    My brother just came across one in my dad’s old garage. I looked it up on line & am surprised by how many I find. Unfortunately, the canvas bag is falling apart due to age & moisture damage, but it looks pretty cool with it’s red painted wood & metal gear. Not sure if it works or even if all its parts are there & I could still read the print on the bag very clearly, but it’s kind of smelly. The date on the bag is 1925.

  7. Brenda Martin

    I purchased one of these seeders at a sale.The only markings are 12345 on the side of the wood.All the mechanics still work,the bag is torn and tattered but other wise in good shape.I am just wanting to find out if they are worth anything

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