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Guilford, Maine

Where history meets the future

Around Town By: Piscataquis Community Middle School Students

Horse Drawn Snow Roller, Guilford, ca. 1900

Horse Drawn Snow Roller, Guilford, ca. 1900

Item 30891 info
Guilford Historical Society


A snow roller was an oversized wooden barrel that would be filled with water in the winter so it could freeze to provide the weight to pack down the snow. These were pulled by a double team of horses consisting of four. This method became unused after it became easier to use the snow plow. This snow roller is a typical example of the early machine drawn by horses or oxen to clear the way in winter for sleighs. The smoothest roads used to be snow-packed roads. Before truck-mounted snowplows cleared deep winter snows from the roads, and before cars and trucks were a common sight on the roads, winter roads were made passable by horse-drawn snow rollers. Instead of plowing the snow to the side of the road, the weight of these huge, heavy wooden rollers compacted the snow into a hard surface that horses, buggies, and wagons could travel on. A snow roller was an improvement over a snowplow because it packed down the snow on the roads to make a wide, hard, smooth surface. In a snow storm, banks made from plowing a road trapped the blowing snow and the road would drift in.

Submitted by: Jonathan Fortier and Cody Richards

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