Jethro Tull demonstrating his seed drill, 1701.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil on canvas mural by Alfred Reginald Thomson, RA, 1955, commisioned by the Science Museum, London, showing the agricultural pioneer, Jethro Tull (1674-1741), demonstrating his most significant invention, the seed-drill. Tull began his investigations into scientific methods of seed cultivation in the late 1600s. In around 1701 he produced his first drill to make channels, drill and cover the seed, sowing three rows at a time. A grooved cylinder rotated against a spring-held tongue, received the seed from the seedbox and dropped it evenly into the ground. Signed with the artist's monogram on the flank of the horse.