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Hillside Plow Designs


Vulcan
Chattanooga (International Harvester)
Oliver
Syracuse (John Deere)


The hillside plow is the traditional horse– or mule–drawn agricultural implement for plowing on steep ground (Figure 1). Hillside plows are also called turning plows. A latch allows the moldboard and shoe to rotate from right to left (Figure 2). Rotating the cutting part of the plow allows the operator to turn a hill of dirt to the downhill side of the trail bed, regardless of the plow’s direction of travel.

Image of plow part line drawings.
Figure 1Line drawings of a plow and parts.


Picture of hillside plow latch.
Figure 2The latch on a hillside plow.

Most designs have provisions for a draft adjustment range of several inches both vertically (Figure 3), and laterally (Figure 4). The better designs allow hillside (lateral) draft adjustment from the handles. The size of a plow refers to the width of the furrow it is capable of plowing. Plow sizes range from 5 in (130 mm) to 14 in (360 mm). Figure 5 shows the Chattanooga plow.

Picture of vertical draft adjustment.
Figure 3Vertical draft adjustment.


Picture of lateral draft adjustment.
Figure 4Lateral draft adjustment.


Picture of Chattanooga hillside plow.
Figure 5International Harvester's Chattanooga hillside plow.

There are four basic styles of hillside plows. They differ in their availability and in their design. Effective hillside plows are designed with adjustments for vertical (down) draft and horizontal (hillside) draft. Plow handles should have adjustments to accommodate operators, whether they are short or tall. Plow handles should be made of wood rather than metal for comfort and safety. Wood absorbs vibrations and can flex.

A plow is only as good as its bottom. In hillside plows, the bottom includes the share and shoe, which is mounted on the body of the plow. The share and shoe provide bottom suction and hillside suction. This suction is created by the concavities of the plow’s bottom. The easiest running plows are those with a fairly pronounced concavity. Bottom suction and hillside suction concavities are illustrated in Figures 6 to 13.

Picture of Vulcan plow.
Figure 6Vulcan plow showing about ½ inch of hillside suction.


Picture of Vulcan plow.
Figure 7Vulcan plow showing about ¼ inch of bottom suction.


Picture of Chattanooga plow.
Figure 8Chattanooga plow showing nearly 1 inch of hillside suction.


Picture of Chattanooga plow.
Figure 9Chattanooga plow showing about 7/8 inch of bottom suction.


Picture of Oliver plow.
Figure 10Oliver plow showing about ½ inch of hillside suction.


Picture of Oliver plow.
Figure 11Oliver plow showing about ¾ inch of bottom suction.


Picture of Syracuse plow.
Figure 12Syracuse plow showing about 7/8 inch of hillside suction.


Picture of Syracuse plow.
Figure 13Syracuse plow showing about ½ inch of bottom suction.

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This page last modified September 11, 2002
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