In 1952, two timber men developed a brutally efficient method for leveling large tracts of trees. They strung a long thick steel cable tied with a giant steel ball between two bulldozer-tractors. The tractors would plow through the woods feeding out the cable as they went, eventually wrapping around a large area of trees to be felled. Anchoring to trees or tree stumps, they winched the cables in on both tractors.

The giant steel ball, weighing 4.5 tons and standing 8 feet tall, and the cable connecting it to the tractors would then draw in, pulling down trees, brush, and anything else that got in its path. The ball helped pull down trees and kept the wires from getting snagged on stumps.

Using this method, two men were able to pull down as much as 50 acres an hour, and the daily average production was close to 100 acres per eight-hour shift. That's pretty fantastic for two guys in tractors in the 1950s.

Here's the whole cover. You can click over for both a high res and text version of the original story.

Here's how they do it today:

The new machines are pretty cool, but it's hard to get more manly than ripping down an entire forest with a giant steel ball and lasso.

Are you on Twitter? Follow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets.

And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Chainsaws!? We don't need no stinking chainsaws!
Modern lumberjacks use massive machines that can grab, cut, and trim huge trees in seconds. In 1951 they pulled a huge steel ball between two tractors and just