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'Dowden '4 Horse' Potato Digger' (Antique Iron)
Of the 5 potato diggers owned, (we actually still use two on the farm) this is the most interesting and historically important. From the Dowden Mfg. Co. of Prairie City, Iowa, it was their potato digger that the company is best known for. After receiving a patent for his potato digger, Ashford Dowden's digger soon was known as the foremost potato digger in the country. Advertised as being "built for 4 horses but strong enough for 6" and "It's the digger that gets all the potatoes, little and big, whether they lie deep or shallow and puts them on the surface un-bruised, whole, and clean".
Shown here without the potato-lifting belt, I do have all the links but have never put them together. More than 100 years ago, in 1896, the Minnesota Horticultural Society reported the value of a used donated Dowden Digger to their “potato machinery collection” at $120. A report by the Chicago Public Library shows potatoes at .39 cents a bushel in 1900 so the purchase of a ‘Dowden’ was no small investment for the turn of the century farmer. There are no dates of manufacture or serial numbers on this machine. The gentleman in northern Idaho who’s collection this Dowden came from said he believed it to be pre-1895 based on what some of the “old timers” had told him, making this one of the earliest models. This actually should be a museum piece. All of the parts are there and functional, the wire "chain" is in storage, not on the digger. $550.00 or make offer.
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