Jethro Tull was born in 1674 into a family of Berkshire gentry. He studied at Oxford University and Gray's Inn in preparation for a legal and political career, but ill health postponed these plans and, after his marriage in 1699, he began farming with his father.
Tull had noticed that traditional heavy sowing densities were not very efficient, so he instructed his staff to drill at very precise, low densities. By 1701, his frustration with their lack of cooperation prompted him to invent a machine to do the work for him. He designed his drill with a rotating cylinder.
Tull's other innovations included a plough with blades set in such a way that grass and roots were pulled up and left on the surface to dry.
Tull's complete system was a major influence on the agricultural revolution and its impact can still be seen in today's methods and machinery.
Tull died on 21 February 1741.