The photo on the first page of this article from the 1917-18 Kansas State Board of Agriculture Biennial Report blew me away. According to the subtitle under the photo 24 horses are pulling a "combined harvester-thresher" across a field in Washington State (Not sure but I only count 18 horses). But still... Wow!
The article begins:
"On the large farms in Kansas increasing the efficiency of horses and mules reduces labor cost and makes it possible to do more work in less time and at less expense. The farm implements most used in Kansas are disk-harrows, seeders, corn planters, corn cultivators, mowers, rakes, harvesters, and plows. Horse- or mule-power is the most economical power available for these various farm implements, because it is flexible and can be used in such units as the particular implement requires. But two horses are needed on corn planters, three on two-row corn cultivators, two on mowers or rakes, four on harvesters, four to six on disc harrows, while in the case of plows, where four are ordinarily used, six. eight, or ten, can be used just as easily, when the proper method of hitching and driving the horses or mules is understood."
The author goes on to provide instructions (with graphics) on the use of multiple hitches with added photos of horses or mules pulling farm implements.
You can view this article at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library here:
The Kansas Historical Society
has a wealth of information (including photos) of planting and harvesting at its "Kansas Memory
" website. You can view these items by these topics:
Agriculture - Agricultural methods and practices - Planting
Agriculture - Agricultural methods and practices - Harvesting
Agriculture - Agricultural methods and practices