2012 New York 38A
Moravia, NY 13118
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The first cast iron plow in the world was made by Jethro Wood at the foot of the falls 1819
By the State Education Department — 1932
What was there
Downstream from this location, Jethro Wood manufactured the first patented cast iron plow. The furnace he used was adjacent to mills that tapped the power of Desserville, Decker, and Mill Creeks.
What is there now
A modern bridge, what is left of an old dam, and some rural homes. A mill or plant operates along the dam. Further downstream from the dam is Montville Falls.
Jethro Wood was born on March 16, 1774 at White Creek in Washington County, New York. He moved to Cayuga County in 1800 and where he took up farming and began making improvements to the age-old wooden plow that was in use for centuries.
Jethro Wood was not the inventor, nor did he patent the first cast iron plow. The first cast Iron plow was invented by Charles Newbold of New Jersey, who was awarded a patent in 1797. His plow failed in the market due to superstitious farmers who believed the metal would spoil the ground. David Peacock, also of New Jersey, received a patent for a cast iron plow in 1807, but was promptly sued by Newbold and lost. Jethro Wood’s innovations and subsequent patents came in 1814 and 1819. By then, farmers were more open to improvements in technology and Jethro’s plows became a commercial success. Even though, by his death in 1934, Jethro was flat broke from one legal battle after another to fight off other manufacturers’ infringements.
Jethro Wood’s home, located on Poplar Ridge Road, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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