The growing season has finally arrived in Minnesota after a long hard winter. Farmers and gardeners who are madly rushing to care for their quickly growing tender new plants might wish they had this nifty tool, a 1919 Planet Jr. walking cultivator. Manufactured by S. L. Allen & Co., Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the walking cultivator was part of a line of farm and garden tools sold under the Planet Jr. name that were known for their quality, durability and innovative design. Depending on which attachment was hooked to the frame, the cultivator could be used as a hoe, plow, seeder or cultivator. Designed by Samuel Leeds Allen (1841-1918), inventor of agricultural implements and company founder, this labor-saving device was touted for its indestructible slotted steel high arch frame. The frame design allowed for the various attachments and for working around larger late season plants. Allen was awarded almost three hundred patents during his lifetime, receiving his first patent for a seed drill when he was twenty-seven. His most famous invention was the Flexible Flyer, a snow sled with steel runners that could be easily steered. The flyer was patented in 1889 reportedly as a way to keep the business from having to lay off its employees during the winter months. Allen was known as a progressive and caring business owner. His company was one of the first to offer disability and retirement plans for its work force. Established in 1868, the company remained in business until 1968 when it was sold to Leisure Group of California.
The Planet Jr. walking cultivator was donated to The Morrison County Historical Society by A. L. Ozzie Schwegman of Little Falls, Minnesota.