Horse-drawn Snow Plow

Tom in New York checks in again today with a piece of technology that can be a necessity this time of year, depending on your latitude.

This horse-drawn snow plow is at the ready on an Amish farm in the Conewango Valley in western New York.

Amish Snow Plow

This machine was made by Pioneer Equipment of Dalton, Ohio, a well-known manufacturer of horse-drawn equipment in the Holmes County settlement.

Amish Snow Scraper

Also, last summer Tom came across operating instructions for a “Snow Scraper” device at a benefit auction.

Amish Snowplow Instructions

Amish Horse Drawn Snow Scraper

Thank you Tom, for this look at how some Amish keep their driveways clear during the chilly months of the year.

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    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      That sure would beat shoveling!

      I don’t know about anyone anywhere else, but around here we’ve had more snow in winter 2012/13 than we did at this point 2011/12. To me the worst part is slush.

      1. Shom there is a word in Polish for the slushy mix of ice, snow, dirt, salt and debris so common on the streets there this time of year. It is “ciapa”. The sound of that word for me has always fit perfectly to the substance. I do not like ciapa.

        1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

          Now that I think of it, it sure does sound like that. I also hate getting splashed by ‘ciapa’ at the curbs of busy streets. This woman and I both got sloshed yesterday and I exclaimed disapprovingly “great!” and she muttered back in disgust “yeah, great.” We missed the cross-light brushing off our respective clothes. I love winter, being born late in the fall, but this isn’t a part I like.

      2. Jean Junkin

        I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and last week in 5 days we had over 50 inches of snow and temps in the minus every day. I”m afraid we would need something bigger than that. Actually my husband plows with a Farmall 450 with a blade on it. That really moves snow.

    2. Alice Aber


      Not much snow here this year so far. Just about an inch that did not last. Strangely enough it is currently 61F and we are expecting thunderstorms today. 🙁

      I often wondered if the Amish had any sort of a snow plow, so thank you both to Tom and Erik for this post!! It answers some questions. I unfortunatly, still have to do it the old fashioned way,,, shovel by hand.

      Blessings, Alice

      1. Alice you need Amish neighbors 🙂

    3. Yep, I saw my Amish plowing his lane here in Big Valley with a plow of sorts the other week. Not sure if his is one of these, or one of his own invention. But it was working!

    4. SharonR

      Horse Drawn Snow Plow

      How interesting!! Anything that the Amish does, and their ideas concerning ‘mechanics’ they come up with, always fascinates me! Of course, anything to do with “snow” amazes me, as well, since I am “Florida-born/raised” and still put up with our 80 degree (ugh)temps in the middle of January!! Would like to have a little of that white stuff, right about now!

      Thanks for the pics!!

    5. Stephen B.

      Up until just after World War I, many cities and towns in New England used horses to deal with snow. In the more urban town and especially city centers, they used horse-drawn wagons to actually haul snow (shoveled by hand) out of the crowded downtown streets while the outlying areas used large, horse-drawn snow rollers to flatten and compact the snow which then cleared the way for horses pulling pugs and sleighs. Here is a Google image search result showing some of the rollers:

      1. AmyJo

        Stephen, When I first read you comment about ‘snow rollers’, it reminded me of snow that had been ‘blown’ by the wind into a tube type shape. I had never seen any until 2000 as I was traveling across central/west central Illinois. It was quite fascinating! When I checked out your Google images link I saw a picture of them at about row 15 of the images.
        The idea of ‘snow rollers’ to pack down the snow is pretty interesting and cleaver – but, I would think not very helpful in places where the now is as deep as was mentioned in the UP?..
        Anyway – all very interesting and increases my anticipation of the Horse Progress Days/Show or whatever – I have never been but so looking forward to it!

    6. Bonnie Bailey

      Run away horses

      When my husband taught in a 1 room school house in N Indiana the neighbor’s 15 yr old son plowed the school driveway with a plow like that.
      Some children watched from the second floor classroom, and then everyone was watching as something spooked the young horse team, and they bolted and charged back across the road. They continued down a lane to the pasture, having lost the plow along the way, up to a frozen pond. The horses were still yolked together but each decided to go the opposite way around the pond. This caused them to crash together onto the pond. Sadly, they slowly sank completely, and drowned.
      Watching this was truamatic for the children, and the teacher, who later asked them each to write an account of the incident.

      1. My, Bonnie that would be traumatic. Amish children certainly are exposed to animals dying but accidents are different. I imagine writing it out would help the children to deal with it.

      2. Liz

        Well, Bonnie, that’s a pretty horrifying way to start my day. Wish I had just skipped these comments altogether. I would have to say, NO THANKS,for sharing that one.

        1. Bonnie, as for me I will say…life is life, and thanks for sharing. Though it’s an unpleasant image, I’m sure it was much worse to witness than read about, and the response of the teacher was a good one, I think. Also a reminder of the dangers users of horse-drawn equipment face. So all-in-all, a slice of Amish life as it is.

          1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

            Run away horses, happier-ish

            Horses are amazing animals.

            My father [we’re not Amish, but he was a farm kid] told me a story from his childhood [in the 1940s] about a pair of horses which belonged to a family who had moved away. I think the horses where taken to another farm to live and work with new owners a fair distance from the family’s old farm. Evidently, the horses escaped the new farm and returned to their original owner’s property.

            Owing to the fact that not everyone owned a motorized vehicle at that space in time, it’s likely that the horses, creatures of routine (I gather), knew the way home, or at least knew the vicinity when they made their great escape.

            Dad never told me what became of the horses.

    7. Roberta

      In diaries from upstate NY written in the 1880’s there are accounts of the men from one village going out with a team of draft horses dragging a big log to flatten the snow on the road until they meet up with the men from the next village.

      Sorry I don’t have a photo to share but we saw an Amish one-horse sleigh in the next village over.

    8. Juanita Cook

      We haven’t had much snow here in Nebraska. Got about 6 inches of snow before Christmas and nothing since. Did have couple days where it rained and a couple days of fog, so got moisture that way.

    9. Alice Mary

      How tragic, Bonnie! I know I’ d have been traumatized, no matter how old I was.

      Here, today, it’ s in the 60′ s Crazy, as it will only be 16 in a few days. Had thunderstorms over night. A boat would be useful right now.

      I always feel for the horses, as they’ ‘re first in line through the snow or rain or heat. The plow is interesting, though.

      1. jodie


        Well Alice Mary, we seem to be having the same weather here in MO. Yesterday it was in the 70’s, today warm, downpour of rain, thunderboomers and under tornado watch.
        Hey, we have it all!

    10. Lisa

      I love how the the safety of children playing on the plow is listed first in the instructions.

    11. horse-drawn snowplow

      Saw a man using a different type to clear a sidewalk in Meadville, PA. in about 1950. We used to have real snow, and lots of it. When I told my new stepmother about it, she thought I was making it up. I never convinced her, but for years after that, whenever she thought I was telling her a tall tale, she would say, “Yeah, and a horse was plowing the sidewalk on Walnut Street.” But he WAS!

      1. OldKat