Did you know where the word "tractor" came from?

Modern tractor on a field and a man working his field with a plow and horse

Tractors first emerged in the early 19th century as steam engines on wheels to drive farm machinery previously powered by horses [1]. In 1892, John Froelich, an inventor from Iowa, developed the first internal-combustion "traction motor", or "tractor" for short. By 1954, farmers were using more tractors than horses and mules.

Today, "smart" tractors can connect with GPS and digital tools to power sophisticated equipment. They can perform tasks such as planting seeds and using smart sprayers to apply herbicides on individual weeds while leaving crops untreated 
(spraying as much as needed, as little as possible). Together, these innovative technologies help farmers make better agronomic decisions throughout the seasons.


[1] James Watt, who invented the steam engine, worked out how to equate the power of engines with the number of horses needed to pull a 150-pound weight at 2.5miles per hour. He called these units horsepower (hp) which is still used to measure engines power today.
[2] The history of the tractor