Mechanisation in agriculture started in the early 20th century. Where previously only human or animal labour had prevailed, machines now took over the work in most of the labour-intensive areas of farming.
At first, steam engines, which were stationary on the farms and could not be moved, powered small threshing machines, reaper-binders and fodder cutters.
The Altheim tinkerers took on the maintenance and repair of these stationary steam engines along with the very common water-powered mills. With the acquisition of a mobile threshing machine, powered by an equally mobile boiler, they provided a valuable service for farmers. No less in demand were the tree sprayers converted from old cars, or the self-propelled beam mowers.
With the bicycle trade and bicycle repair, they quickly responded to an emerging trend and thus created another economic mainstay for the workshop.
The mobile wood saw was also a big hit. It was mounted on a diesel-powered base and combined with a wood splitter. Father and son Widmer would drive it to the farms to cut the firewood into manageable logs on site.
With its services, the Widmer workshop ensured the smooth functioning of small-scale farming. It became indispensable within its extensive catchment area.
And if someone had actually invented something, or wanted to have a more complicated workpiece made, they could be sure of finding tinkerers here who’d come up with a solution to any problem.
All depictions: © Gemeinde Fricklingen