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Referring to the accompanying illustrations it will be seen that one sheet (Plate A) gives 12 figures of implements used in agricultural occupations, and the other (Plate B) illustrates 10 mechanical tools. These I shall now endeavour to describe.
Plate A.—Agr1cultural Implements.
Fig. 1. A digging fork, cut from oak in one solid piece. The middle tine measures g inches, and appears to be little short of the original length, the outer tines are broken. The entire length of the fork, as shown in the plate, is 42 in.; the shoulder from which the tines are cut is 7^ in. in 1ts greatest breadth. I had the pleasure of shewing this fork to Mr. Franks, of the British Museum, on the day that I secured it. He informed me that there was in the British Museum the remains of a similar fork, which was found embedded with the worked flints of the stone age. Although I have not seen one, I have been informed, on trustworthy authority, that forks of this description, cut in one piece from the solid oak, are at present in use on the light reclaimed bog soils of Lancashire, Cheshire, and Ireland, where they are preferred to iron and steel forks, as being less liable to damage the potatoes in lifting them.
Fig. 2. The blade of a spade with a portion of the handle remaining. This blade has, like the fork already mentioned, been cut from solid oak.
The edge of the oak blade is shod with a broad wrought iron plate, or casing, to improve its cutting properties and act as a protection to the wood when being used amongst stones or other hard substances. The oak blade is let into a deep
groove in the iron blade or shoe, and, as there is no rivet or other attachment for fastening the iron to the wood, it would seem that after having been closely and carefully fitted, the iron must have been made red hot, then driven on to the dry wood, and plunged into cold water, thus causing the iron to contract and bind firmly to the wood. It will be seen that the iron plate is notched on each side near the top, while on the back plate are similar notches. These notches would help to retain the iron on the wood. The length of the blade, including the shoe, is 12 in., the greatest breadth gTfia in. I am told that similar spades were in use a few years ago in the Highlands of Scotland.
Some twenty-five years since I saw a number of men and women who had arrived in Liverpool from Hull; every man either carried or had in his baggage a spade cut from the solid wood, and shod with iron, similar to the Cheshire specimen. The men were dressed entirely in leather from head to foot, some of them wearing leather aprons in addition. The Liverpool Swedish interpreter told me that they were miners and iron workers, and that they were going to America to pursue that employment. He further told me that they had come from some remote district of Sweden, and that they spoke a patois of which he hardly understood a word. Fortunately there was one man with them who could in addition speak the ordinary Swedish language, and thus act as interpreter.
Fig. 3. The iron parts of a spade, which was originally a wooden spade sheathed with iron. This implement was of a very unusual construction, as we learn from a close examination of what remains of it. Evidently it once consisted of a spade with a wooden handle, from which, it would seem, there issued two wooden blades, one behind the other, that to the front being much broader and larger than the smaller blade behind. These two wooden blades being separated by a double plate of iron, attached to another double iron plate at the back of the spade which enclosed the smaller wooden blade, and, being turned over at the sides, overlapped the larger one and was countersunk into it. Rivets attached the iron of the smaller blade together. The handle, though in the centre of the smaller wooden blade, was not in the centre of the larger one nor of the iron rivets which extended to the right, to allow the foot of the person using the spade to be conveniently placed upon the iron shoulder. The iron is welded together at the sides and blade of the spade to give it solidity and strength.
The measurements are as follows :—The smaller under blade—length from shoulder of spade downwards about 6 in., width at shoulder 6i in., greatest thickness | in. The larger upper blade—length from shoulder of spade downwards 13 in., width at shoulder 10 in., tapering to 8 in. at the edge of the blade. Distance from centre of handle across the shoulder of the spade to the left 31 in., and to the right 7£ in. Thickness of rivet pins T3n in. Weight of this object, which consists only of the iron work, the wood having perished, 4.1bs.
It is difficult to decide for what special purpose this curious spade was intended. Its complicated nature seems to serve no particular object.
Fig. 4. The back portion of a spade blade, formed of rather thick wrought iron, the length being J\ in. and the greatest width 5 in., tapering to 4£ in. The portion of the blade which is below the folded sides is hammered out to form a cutting edge. The handle was probably cut from solid oak,