Peter Moser

“Motor culture” overrides “steam culture”

Konrad von Meyenburg’s rotary tiller: development and reception history

Ferrum 91/2019

The engineer Konrad von Meyenburg (1870–1952) played an important role in technology history. While his achievements are largely forgotten today, his obscurity is due in part to the fact that he left no written legacy. One approach to increasing our knowledge of the ideas and work of this inventor, who was active on both sides of the Atlantic, is to reconstruct and analyze the reception history of his inventions. This paper examines the reactions triggered by Meyenburg’s rotary tiller, an invention that owes as much to the abilities of the mole as to the ideas of Frederick Winslow Taylor. The focus is on the way farmers and market gardeners responded to the motor-driven tiller, as they were the ones most closely affected by the invention.

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