Our resourceful (but not too bright) ancestors continued to tinker with the rototiller concept for a few millennia, but it was no use. Finally, they gave up on their crazy dreams of agriculture and went back to hunting and gathering for another 2,995,000 years. Everybody got sick of mammoth was super hungry for bread, popcorn and baby carrots... but what can you do?
Fortunately, the Neolithic eventually arrived and they decided to give growing plants another try. But they had learned their lesson and used oxen and/or slaves to pull plows, just as nature intended.
Unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia, will try and tell you that the first rototiller machines were invented at the beginning of the 20th century, but this is clearly wrong, because this weekend I used one of the Stone Age models to try to make myself a 4 by 6 meter vegetable garden. The hours it took were some of the most unpleasant I have ever experienced, and that includes the hours I spent giving birth to a 9lb baby at home with no pain relief.
I spent early spring busily canvassing every friend I had in the Valley. I'd begin with the deceptively casual question: "Are you putting in a vegetable garden this year?" Anyone who answered in the affirmative would then get asked if they used a rototiller and if so, could I please borrow it for a day?
It turned out that nearly every single person that I asked borrowed a machine from a neighbor. And it always turned out to be a neighbor I didn't know. And I wasn't yet quite desperate enough to knock on the door of strangers and ask if they'd help me out with my garden dilemma
If I could find just a plow plus some oxen and/or slaves...
But then it came time to actually get the soil turned over. The thing pulled and bucked mercilessly. It was impossible to steer and the whole machine had a tendency to collapse backwards over the rear axle. This would make the handle descend to about knee level, which made things really interesting.