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Hay Knife

Blacksmiths working in specialized shops made many of the tools that farmers needed to work in their fields. The blade on this large hay knife was made by a blacksmith. After a wooden handle was added, the farmer used this tool to cut down tall grasses during harvest time.

Buckeye Mower Broadside

Many companies that manufactured agricultural equipment advertised by having broadsides printed. Broadsides are an early type of poster. This broadside advertises the Buckeye Mower and Self-Raking Reaper. Farmers could have used a catalog from the company to choose equipment and would have ordered by letter.

Flail

Threshing (also known as thrashing), refers to the method of separating grain from its outer hull, called chaff. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the farmer usually threshed by hand, swinging a flail against the grain on the barn floor to open the grain. The introduction of steam and animal-powered machinery in the mid to late nineteenth century, brought convenience to the process.

Engraving of an adjustable switch real rake patented in 1865.

Adjustable Switch Reel Rake – Patented 1865

Patented in 1865, the adjustable switch reel rake was intended to make reaping grain more efficient for farmers. Although some farmers used steampowered machines by the 1860’s, many still used horses or oxen to power the equipment on their farms.