Food and Farming

Working Tools

Farmers, members of their families, and hired help all worked hard to grow crops and care for livestock. They used manual tools and simple machines which were drawn by horses or oxen. Handheld implements reflect the physical labour involved in such activities as planting crops, weeding, pitching hay, or flailing and winnowing grains.

Glenbow Archives NA-1148

Pitchfork, ca. 1940
Artifact no. 1966.0960

Pitchforks came in many sizes and shapes. This one was used to pitch grain sheaves into a threshing machine. Manual farm labour of this sort required great physical effort, thus burning a great many calories.

Glenbow Archives NA-54-69

Flail, ca. 1860
Artifact no. 1988.0413

Farmers 'thresh' wheat sheaves with a flail to separate the kernels from the chaff and stalks. This laborious task provided a vigorous workout. Threshing machines later mechanized the process.

Glenbow Archives NA-836-4

"Planet Junior No. 4" Garden Planter S.A. Allen Ltd., Philadelphia, U.S.A., ca. 1918
Artifact no. 1988.1161

This planter reduced the time needed to plant seeds. It could plant pea, beet, parsnip, radish, spinach and lettuce seed. The metal arm on the side of the frame acted as a row-spacer.

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