Earlier this year Robert Sherman donated almost 200 items from his collection of antique or vintage items to the Matheson History Museum. The tools from his donation have been added to the Tison Tool Barn collaction. Three of the wrenches that I have highlighted in the previous series of posts were part of that donation. In this post I will feature several items from that donation that were used on farms.
The first item from Mr. Sherman is this shoulder yoke or milkmaid's yoke. It was worn over the shoulders, with buckets of milk or water hung on either side. This yoke appears to have been factory made.
Next is another shoulder yoke. This item appears to be home-made. I suspect that the hooks, which are formed from crotches in tree branches, may have been added later to make the yoke appear more rustic.
The remaining items in this post were used on animals. There are two yokes for draft animals, almost certainly for oxen. (Horses and mules cannot exert much power on a yoke, and need horse collars for any heavy pulling.) First is a two-ox yoke. The crosspiece of this yoke is smoothly shaped, and probably was produced in a factory or by a craftsman. The oxbows (which curve around the necks of the oxen), however, are branches bent into shape. One oxbow still has its bark, while the bark has been pealed from the other. They are held on the crosspiece by pegs.
Next is a one-ox yoke. Oxen were normally used in pairs, but a single ox might be used in specialized tasks, such as turning a cane or sorghum mill. Poor farmers might own only one ox. The crosspiece of this yoke is very rough looking, with minimal shaping of the wood. The oxbow for this yoke is also a branch, but with the bark pealed off.
The Tison Tool Barn has several items which do not seem to have a common name. These devices, which all appear to be home-made, were reportedly hung around the necks of farm animals to keep them from jumping over fences. I have seen such a device called a "fence jumping inhibitor" in a publication identifying "mystery" farm tools. That name is descriptive, but Google does not return any hits on it. I do not know what farmers may have called them, or even if any two farmers called them the same thing.
All photos by Donald Albury.
In my next post I will be reviewing some marking gauges from the Tison Tool Barn collection.
I have been a volunteer at the Matheson History Museum. Feeling an affinity with old hand tools (some of which I remember from my youth), I have tried to learn more about the history of the tools in the Tison Tool Barn, and how they were used.
All text and photographs by Donald Albury in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All illustrations taken from Wikimedia Commons are either in the public domain, or have been released under a Creative Commons license.
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