I have been researching and collecting quite a bit of information on patents for ox equipment including yokes and bow keys ect.. They frequently call their invention an “improvement” for obvious reasons but usually all they did was complicate a simple piece of equipment. Many times it seems that they created more problems than they solved and sometimes I feel they took a giant leap backwards. I did find this one to be interesting and wanted to share it.
Ad taken from The Farm journal and progressive farmer, Volumes 5-6 1855
VOSE’S OX YOKE PATENTED AUGUST 10TH 1853
“Muzzle not the Ox that treadeth out the Corn.”
In all history, the ox is associated with man as his faithful servant. The horse has been rather man’s companion; and, therefore, caressed and apostrophized. And when it has been found necessary to take him from the chariot to the wagon, every care has been taken, both in an anatomical and mechanical point of view, to have his harness constructed soft and flexile and on the best principles. None, or but little of this care has been taken in connexion with the ox. It is true he has been worshipped as a God, and sacrificed to the gods, but he has never been caressed- has never, when he has been whipped and cudgelled, had any of those good-natured apologies made to him that, after ill-treatment, are usually made to a horse. If his harness, by its malformation and rudeness, pained and lacerated his flesh it made no matter- he was only an ox. And yet in man’s sober moments- perhaps we should say in hs lazy moments, when he had nothing to do but pity- this consideration and treatment of this truly useful animal, has been mourned over and condemned. It now must give to all men real pleasure to see what this pity gives us, as in this last view of the case, we know it has at last mercifully worked itself into form- into real practical alleviation. It is but a few years since a yoke was invented, by which the oxen can walk closer or more apart as the inequalities or other circumstances of the ground, may make it desirable. And now, we have another and more important improvement in this second new yoke, of which the above is a cut. If the first, or sliding yoke, is a convenience to the oxen, this yoke embraces a principle of mercy as well as of mechanical improvement, as in it the oxen’s shoulders cannot possibly be chafed or mangled, as they too frequently are in the old or common yoke.
In this yoke the neck blocks are separate from the beam, and attached to it by strong bolts passing from an iron thimble or socket in the block up through the centre of the beam, as represented at the letter B. This iron thimble or socket, is an improvement upon which application for a patent is now being made by Mr Dederick. This yoke has five decided advantages over all others. First. By the neck block accommodating itself to whatever movement of the ox, it is impossible for his shoulders ever to become sore or broken. Second. It does away with the evil arising from one ox stepping in advance of the other; as, by the moving of the blocks, the weight must under all possible circumstances fall equally on both oxen- except, (which is the Third advantage,) when desiring to favor one you may move him one or more holes farther from the centre than his fellow. Fourth. By moving the neck blocks into either of the five holes, (represented by dots in the beam below,) it can be changed at pleasure into a yoke of any width required for ploughing, carting, sleighing or hauling; which advantage of itself makes its value equal to two or three of the common yoke. Fifth. Bows in this yoke will last much longer than in any other, because the tugging or jerking of the ox does not fall on the bow, but directly on the centre bolt. The bows are secured by keys passing through the bows and neck blocks represented at A.A.- there being in each two or more holes, so that the bow can be raised or lowered at pleasure. These yokes are manufactured by Peering & Dickson, of the premium works at Albany; and we believe are for sale by Paschall Morris & Co., of this city. We believe its price, (patent right included,) is seven dollars; and we feel that we should not conclude this article without saying, that when the great ease and advantage it to the oxen is considered, no intelligent or humane farmer should allow the two or three dollars difference price between it and the ordinary yoke, to make him hesitate a moment in its purchase.
Here is the actual patent for the yoke.