Who Invented the Iron Plow?

In ancient Chinese agriculture of the third century B.C., the iron plow was invented to make it easier to work the soil. These were called “kuan” or moldboard plows and were eventually pulled by oxen.

During the Zhou period, there were improved iron casting techniques leading to its use in creating tools and weapons. By 400 B.C., iron was prominent in agriculture. The Chinese grew soybeans and rice in rows, which were more effective by plowing. The plows were shaped like a “V” with a sharp point and side wings to cut and move the soil. At first, these plows were pushed by cultivators; however, by the first century B.C., cattle were used to pull them more quickly.

In the Western world, Jethro Wood became the first to patent the iron plow in 1819. This plow was made of interchangeable parts and was an important development in farming technology.