Beginning around 1850, the invention and widespread use of machines powered by draft horses, changed the way farmers did their work.
Later steam, gasoline, and electric engines helped farmers do their work even better.
Because of improved equipment, farmers were able to cultivate larger and larger fields and to complete in a day or two, work that had once taken them weeks.
Such advances in agriculture were possible because of new machinery. Because of the demand for new machinery to make farm work easier and more efficient, more and more factories were built to produce the machines.
Between 1870 and 1920 factories like the Waterloo Gas Engine Company that produced the Waterloo Boy tractor grew rapidly to meet the demand for new farm equipment. At the same time, factories like Rath Packing Company appeared in order to process the agricultural products.
Learn about some of the early businesses that played a key role in the partnership between the city and the farm.