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Those looking for a little farming throwback will likely find enjoyment by swinging by the Butler County Historical Society Museum.

The operation, set up about 2 blocks west of the David City Post Office on D Street, recently came into possession of a hand-crafted patent model cultivator for listed corn, created in the early 1900s by Bruno native James Proskovec.

The model has working mechanisms and clearly shows how the real product, which would have been manned by a driver and been pulled by a pair of horses, would have helped prepare a proper seedbed for crops to be planted into.

The piece was acquired by Dave Lanik, of Wahoo, at an estate sale. Learning of its origins to Butler County, Butler County Historical Society Treasurer Greg Fiala said that Lanik reached out and asked if the museum would like to display the cultivator for a period of time.

The museum was also tasked with insuring the cultivator model, and a price of about $2,500 was set by a local bank, Fiala said.

To check out the model cultivator, those with interest are encouraged to stop by the museum anytime between 1-4 p.m. on Sundays through Nov. 3 – the museum’s final day of being open for the season before its annual winter closure.

Fiala said that perusing through patent documentation relating to Proskovec’s creation, he believes that the patent was issued in 1905 and that the actual machines were produced and sold locally and beyond until at least 1910.

The cultivator model came to the museum in a wooden box that has withstood the tests of time. Enclosed was the additional patent information, which would have been put together by Proskovec and his lawyer and then shipped off to Washington D.C. for patent approval, or denial. Ultimately, Proskovec’s patent was OK'd.

Jacque Masek of the Butler County Historical Society said that it’s always exciting having new items come through the museum's doors because it gives her something new to show off.

“I just love it,” she said of receiving new inventory to curate. “Because I have read through all the information that we have in here. We have the hit-and-miss Hercules (motor), and then the Boston Studio camera, and I can take them (patrons) through the museum and so many of them will point to something, and say something like, ‘man, my grandmother used to have that!’”

Fiala noted that the patented name of the cultivator was ‘Prosperity.” With all of its odds and ends, moving parts, patent information and original box, Fiala said that he believes there are many people in the area who would find some real enjoyment in spending a few minutes learning about the contraption.

“I think that a lot of farmers would be interested in this,” Fiala said. “The people from around Bruno, and other farmers would just like to see it. Even the display is kind of tuned toward farming in the early days … This stuff was high tech, just top-of-the-line stuff back in those days.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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