This agricultural tool was used to gently lift, move, and mix the hops as they lay on the drying floor. This ensured even drying of the whole bale.
This tool is a wrought iron, six-pronged, swiveled hop sampler. It operates like a pair of scissors. Growers and dealers used hop samplers to extract a sample from a bale of hops. They judged the quality of the crop and the harvesting process from the sample, and this determined a price for the product.
In 1862, Lucy Medora Walker, a woman from Springfield (Otsego County), New York, kept a diary. In addition to recording her daily events, “Dora” kept a memorandum in the back of her diary that tracked how much of her money she spent. She earned her money by picking hops.
This photograph shows a group of hops pickers in the nineteenth century. They are sitting on a box that holds the hops they picked. Men usually took down the poles on which the hops grew, and women usually picked the flowers from the vine.
During the mid to late nineteenth century, hops were a major cash crop for New York State, especially central New York. Often farmers who sold hops sold them to hops dealers, who then sold them to brewing companies for beer or other customers. Hinds & Allen were hops dealers from Cooperstown, New York, who sold New York hops to customers all across the United States.
James Wedderspoon was an influential farmer in Otsego County, New York, in the late nineteenth century. His family farm was located near Cooperstown. The Wedderspoon farm grew hops, which was a major cash crop for New York State at that time. The 1875 New York State census shows what the Wedderspoon farm was worth and what was growing on the farm in 1874 and 1875.