For our farm's past two supply runs, we've had to take the truck, because the roads were covered in thick snow that the station wagon won't cut through. Our roads are too rural for our tiny county to send what few snowplows they have.
These snow rollers, which existed at least as far back as the 1700s in America (and surely earlier than that overseas), were used until the 20th century. It's incredible to think that just 100 years ago, these were used to make roads passable.
Caribou, Maine, circa 1930. Photo shared by Jeff Clark. (Image source)
Photo dated May 21, 1937. From Hennepin County Library, Earle Brown Collection. (Image source)
Because these are so big and built with metal frames, they stand a better chance of surviving the ages, unlike smaller tools that are easily lost and swallowed up by the ground. This snow roller was found in the woods near Bartlett, New Hampshire in 2014.
"It had been sitting (and rotting) for many, many years," writes Norman Head, a member of the Bartlett Historical Society. "It was partially buried in the ground, the inside was covered with leaves, pine needles, dirt, etc. but the iron structure was in quite good shape and I thought it was not only salvageable, but would be a real gem when restored."
"This snow roller, donated by Frances Savard of Intervale Farm, was once used to roll the roads in the Intervale section of Bartlett. Prior to the advent of snowplows, snow rolling was a common method of keeping the snow-covered roads passable in the winter. A team of horses pulled the roller, packing the snow so sleighs, and later on vehicles, could get around."