[Masthead] Overcast ~ 48°F  
High: 51°F ~ Low: 47°F
Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

History in tools, any stories to tell?

Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010, at 8:25 PM

As I was hoeing a couple of rows to plant beans tonight, I started thinkg about the history of the tool I had in my hand. Regrettably, I don't know it or even remember how I got it. It is much older than any I would have bought so I can only presume that I got it at an auction or yard sale. It probably has seen many a garden and served many a gardener.

I have a 4-tine hayfork that has special meaning to me, as well as a double-edged axe. The fork was bought for me 22 years ago by my father while my parents were visiting us in Mississippi. I was struggling with an old hayfork that had seen its prime long ago and Dad could not stand to see me work with a wobbly head tool.

I broke a tine off it some years ago, but because of who I got it from, I had it welded back on. In our disposable society I might have just gotten another, but I remembered their frugality and "did the right thing".

Anyone have a story about their favorite tool?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Does anyone know about and ancient stone tools being found in this area?

-- Posted by KaiteJones on Sun, May 9, 2010, at 9:10 PM

I have not heard of anything. Were they found recently or past six months, or....?

By this area do you mean Bedford County, Middle Tennessee, Mid-South..... ?

Just trying to narrow my search as much as possible.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 8:40 AM

i have a lot of cool tools. among them:

i have a hand-drill for stone, made from a model-T axle, and a 16 pound sledgehammer for "powering" it.

my dad quarried limestone with the hand drill as a boy. he held the drill, turning it slightly with each blow & poured water on where it was entering the rock, so it wouldnt melt, while his dad swung the 16 pound sledge.

quarrying limestone with a hand drill is real work.

i also have a small shaping hammer for stone, with a crosshatched striking surface. it was used for removing surface lumps on stones so they would fit better. i found it inside a standing section of a stone wall i was restoring, that had been built in the 1840's or 1850's. the original wall had been so well built, and the hammer so well protected where it was lost inside the wall, that the handle still showed the hand oils from being used.

-- Posted by lazarus on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 10:53 AM

I did not realize that hitting, then turning, then hitting would build up enough heat to melt the device. I also think one had to have a LOT of faith in the one doing the striking.

I really like the tool you found. Any chance of getting a picture. I will post it here.

What was the value of the crosshatched striking surface? Reduce slippage or....? Still had the oil marks of the user? Neat. What history that one has.

I wonder if there is any way to trace that back to an owner? Maybe the land owner that had the wall built or did the owner do it themselves?

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 11:35 AM

The hatching serves as a buffer on such implements. It is intended as a pre-finishing tool as opposed to a rough shaper.

-- Posted by dmcg on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 12:26 PM

A few months ago my Mom gave me an old garden plow that belonged to my Grandfather. It's one of those antiques with wood handles and a metal wheel that you push thru the garden to dig your rows.

I used it to put in my garden this year and it works good. I definitly worked up a sweat with that old thing, but it was nice to know that it was being put to good use again after 40 or more years of sitting in a garage.

And knowing that my Grandfather used it every year in his garden is pretty cool.

-- Posted by Rocket Valentine on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 1:43 PM

Cross hatching protects the head, buffers the blow for the person using it or ....? Sorry to be such a dummy buit it is interesting to me.

Rocket Valentine, that kind of personal history is the connection I like. I hate to say I remember that type of device and ours may still be in the barn at home.

I keep saying I am going to bring the old walk-behind tractor we used to plow, but as of yet, I am still talking. It has big metal wheels and has to be started with a hand crank on the front.

Dad would not let us kids try to start it until we were teenagers because the kickback could break your arm. I've had it pop me a few times, so I gave it its' due respect.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 4:05 PM

My husband found what seems to be an ancient stone tool used for gardening or perhaps stabbing like a weapon, one man who specializes in rocks at the college in Murfreesburo said the point looks like it was sanded against another stone to create the sharp point since it has no distinct tooling marks. It has a "grip" area about the length of a mans grasp with an indented area along one side of the top that fits perfect were the fingers would wrap around,from there it has an area that tappers to a point that is as sharp as that of a pencil. He found it our in the woods on our property in Bedford county not to far from the river.

-- Posted by KaiteJones on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 4:57 PM

Kaite, That sounds like a unique find. Did the MTSU person have any suggestions. I would think an archeologist would be the next step.

If you do and find out more, please let us know. It is very intriguing and sounds like it could have been used in several ways.

Is it a straight shaft or have curves, beside the grip? If the grip was actually worn down to fit the hand, it would show an advanced artisan concerned with ergonomics. Truly intriguing.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 6:31 PM

Here is an interesting chapter of a book regarding early (400 A.D. to 1600 A.D.) inhabitants in Middle Tennessee. I found the blue type hard to read, but you can zoom in a bit to make it easier.


-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 6:35 PM

Thank You Steve this is very interesting, we may have something, and well if not we sure will have fun finding out. I'll let you know if we find anything out. He has found a couple interesting items that seem to intentional to be just broken rocks. But the imagination is a great thing at times, we'll see.

-- Posted by KaiteJones on Tue, May 11, 2010, at 10:59 PM

I love to find rocks with interesting shapes, While not man-made, I have one in my my garden that has the shape of a road runner head.

Fossils kindle my imagination as well.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 9:13 AM

The hatching buffers the blow for the stone, meaning it will pulverize small little pieces of stone rather than chipping off a large chunk, which a smooth head might do. Did that make sense? I really don't think I'm expressing it very well... The force of the hammer's stroke is softened or dampened thereby lessening the chance of removing more than desired. I hope that helps.

-- Posted by dmcg on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 5:14 PM

That does help and I understand what you said.

I wonder how they figured that out?

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 8:33 PM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.