Historical information

Seed broadcaster were used to distribute seed across a small area or to fill in patches where seeding has been missed. This method does not ensure a uniform distribution of seeds unless the person using the machine walks at a very measured pace. It also requires a lot of time and manual labour if used in larger areas. It was most used for planting cover crops, grains, grasses and similar plants that do not need to be in neat rows. The hand-crank broadcast seed spreader was invented in 1868 by Samuel S. Speicher (aka. Spyker) in Indiana, USA. By 1955 new developments included the invention of a seed broadcaster on wheels and these smaller spreaders started to disappear.


This item is representative of agricultural machinery used on a local, national and international level in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Physical description

A metal hand seed broadcaster. A hopper at the top was the receptacle for seed. The wheel with a handle on the side when turned drives the cogs attached to an axle. This action rotates the attached spindle with blades to propel seed out the front of the broadcaster. The broadcaster would have had a shoulder strap and a bag of seed would have been added to the hopper and secured with twine through the holes around the top.