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Dog Power

A small animal power for use with a dog, sheep or goat. The 10 3/4" wide wood treads ride on 10" end pulleys and 2 sets of four 8" diameter rollers. The rear of the track frame can be easily raised or lowered by means of a lever operating a ratchet mechanism. The angle of the track is adjusted for the weight of the animal and the work required. The power available from a treadmill is dependent on the weight of the animal and the angle of the tread, not on the strength of the animal. The dog simply climbs the tread to maintain his position and gravity does the work. A hand lever actuates a brake to stop the machine when the dog is getting on or off. The iron brake pad rubs on the face of the 25" iron flywheel. An 89" long walking beam pivots on the upright frame member and is attached to a 43" long connecting bar, the opposite end of which connects to a slot in a flywheel spoke. This flywheel connection allows continuous adjustment of the crank radius and thus the degree of movement of the walking beam. The opposite end of the connecting bar has a series of 6 holes for adjustment of the height of the walking beam end. This attachment was used primarily for working dasher churns and pumps. The connecting bar could be connected directly to a rocking churn such as the popular Davis swing churn offered by Vermont Farm Machine Co. Other devices such as barrel churns, early washing machines, cream separators, and even lathes and light duty woodworking machines could be powered directly off a belt pulley on the front shaft.

The front of the machine is marked in large letters "Harder Manufacturing Co., Cobleskill, N.Y.". The side slats have the original green and yellow decoration and the treadmill frame lettering reads "ADJUSTING TRACK". The ability to adjust the angle of the treadmill is important since economy models that didn't have this feature required the brake to be used as a speed control.

While Minard Harder, of Cobleskill, patented a threshing machine in 1863 and manufactured horse powers and threshers and grain fans, this machine was not his invention. It was patented in 1881 by Nicholas Potter, of Troy, PA. Potter's popular "Enterprise" dog treadmill made in Troy was identical to this machine. An example of the Enterprise dog power demonstrated by an unwilling Bear. That power had a replacement flywheel from a corn sheller and was missing its walking beam. Otherwise it appeared identical to this machine.

The machine is 66" long and 60" high. The machine is in good working order. A piece of the flange mount of the walking beam is broken off, but works ok. There are some cracks in the turned rail connecting the top of the two rear posts, not affecting the mortise joints or the rigidity of the frame.

the walking beam churn power

the track adjustment mechanism

front view


Early advertising and background info

a dog power working the Davis swing churn

Dog power illustrated in Thomas's 1854 book, Farm Implements and Farm Machinery

Dog and sheep power advertisement in The Country Gentleman, 1898.

Emery's dog and sheep power in the 1863 Illustrated Annual Register of Rural Affairs

Potter's 1881 patent for this dog power

Animal treadmill article from American Artifacts issue 59, Winter 2003

Price: sold

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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email: richard@americanartifacts.com

© 2006, American Artifacts, Taneytown, Maryland.