Mystery solved!

10 Jun

OK, here’s the info you’ve all been waiting for… the answer to the question “What is this thing?”

And the answer is… Mooooo! OK, that’s not technically the answer, but it does have to do with cows. It’s hard to figure out, and it seems pretty far fetched, but there’s a chance that livestock may have grazed this land way back before the lawn tractor was even conceived…
What we have stumbled upon is an “Automatic Watering Bowl” for cows from some time in the 1920s! (or possibly earlier) This was produced by The Louden Machinery Co. of Fairfield, Iowa.

Here’s some documentation from a Louden Catalog:

Here’s an action shot:

Here’s an ad from a periodical of the time:
(click image to enlarge)

As you may be able to tell, we do not have a complete unit. What we have is the bowl and the lever that were removable for cleaning. This was mounted in a quick-release manner to a valve that would be activated by the pretzel shaped lever when a cow would push it with its nose.

This is really quite interesting and I’m compelled to wonder how far this artifact has travelled from its original home. Did it make its way here on the wagon whose wheels adorn our yard? Did it simply get left behind when a dairy barn on this spot was demolished?

It was not a system somebody would have in their backyard; it was intended to be part of complete dairy cow barn system which included stations for feeding, drinking and milking the cows. A plumbing system for these bowls would be integral to the design of the barn, so it’s really hard to imagine a large scale barn on these premises, but, who knows? Maybe JP Morgan had a dairy farm over here so he could have fresh milk. (I’m currently researching the “Jackson Farm” and “Fresh Ponds Farm” which may have been the predecessor to the nearby Nassau Country Club… so maybe the idea of a dairy farm isn’t that far fetched after all!)

If there’s more to update about the existence of a dairy farm in the immediate area, or if any more artifacts surface, we’ll be sure to update you!!


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