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Catalog Data

Medium:
Metal mesh, wood
Type:
Agricultural implements and tools
Seed industry
Date:
ca.1830-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Round seed strainer composed of wood, wire, and mesh painted grey. The frame consists of one wooden board bent in a circle and nailed to itself on both the inside and outside. Drawn across the bottom is a sheet of wire mesh of a large gage: the pores are about half an inch square. A second board is wrapped around the lower portion of the exterior rim, which secures the mesh sheet to the frame. Below the mesh, two metal wires form an ‘X’ shape. A seed strainer is a mesh sifting device used to separate seeds from unwanted materials, such as dirt or plant material, used in seed-saving when preparing them for use or distribution. Coarse particles are broken or separated when they grind against one another and the openings in the screens. This tool is made of a woven screen from mesh, net, or metal, with hole sizes dependent on the size and type of materials being separated, placed over a wood or metal frame. Screening was an important process in seed harvesting. It was done in several steps using strainers with different size pores depending on the application for rough cleaning, scalping, grading and sizing, and sifting. Rough cleaning and scalping both removed objects that were larger, wider, or longer than the desired seed crop. Next seeds were graded, which sorted the seeds by sizes. The final screening step was sifting, which was achieved using a mesh with holes slightly smaller than the seeds to separate out any dust or broken seeds that would fall through, leaving the desired seed crop on the screen.
A seed strainer is a mesh sifting device used to separate seeds from unwanted materials, such as dirt or plant material, used in seed-saving when preparing them for use or distribution. Coarse particles are broken or separated when they grind against one another and the openings in the screens. This tool is made of a woven screen from mesh, net, or metal, with hole sizes dependent on the size and type of materials being separated, placed over a wood or metal frame. Screening was an important process in seed harvesting. It was done in several steps using strainers with different size pores depending on the application for rough cleaning, scalping, grading and sizing, and sifting. Rough cleaning and scalping both removed objects that were larger, wider, or longer than the desired seed crop. Next seeds were graded, which sorted the seeds by sizes. The final screening step was sifting, which was achieved using a mesh with holes slightly smaller than the seeds to separate out any dust or broken seeds that would fall through, leaving the desired seed crop on the screen.
Label Text:
Saving seeds is done both industrially for agriculture and gardening, but it is also done by amateur gardeners. Seed saving was the traditional way farms and gardens had maintained themselves for the last 12,000 years. In the nineteenth century, the commercial seed industry replaced most grassroots seed-saving practices. Rather than collecting and processing their own seeds, gardeners and farmers shifted to purchasing seed annually from seed suppliers. Seed harvesting is a carefully-timed and labor-intensive process, and many farmers and gardeners found relying on the seed industry to do this work for them much easier and more cost effective. The seed industry was essentially a centralized supply collected from individual raisers and sold to both local retailers and directly to the public. Seeds were grown on farms, harvested, dried, and cleaned. They were then sorted, categorized, stored, packaged, described, and mailed. These time- and labor-saving steps made the product of seedsmen more convenient and thereby more valuable than those saved from the previous year’s plants. This elevated their products over what could be found in one’s back yard. Originally in America, seeds had to be imported from Europe for agriculture and gardening, and not surprisingly, the long voyage by ship across the ocean compromised many of the seeds and stunted their successful cultivation. As early as 1780, the seed industry was established in America, and by the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was in full swing. The seed industry sold to home gardeners, professional florists, and market growers through stores as well as mail-order through catalogs.
Topic:
Agricultural implements  Search this
Garden tools  Search this
mesh  Search this
welded wire fabric  Search this
agriculture  Search this
hand tools  Search this
horticulture  Search this
seed  Search this
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.260.005
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq405445163-513a-4a31-914b-10363ecba256
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1984.260.005