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Catalog Data

Wood, leather, metal
Agricultural implements and tools
Nineteenth century
Victorian (1837-1901)
Threshing flail of wood, leather and metal. The flail includes three wooden poles used to beat the grain.
Label Text:
In the second half of the nineteenth century, new technologies and the increase in mass production coincided with the rise in popularity of gardening. This led to new and improved labor-saving tools for the farm and garden. Garden implements were made to appeal to the consumer’s desire for easy-to-use, versatile garden tools that were well-made and meant to last. While they were somewhat clumsier and more expensive, they were also more durable. These tools also became readily accessible due to improvements in transportation and communication in the 1800s. Tools and equipment could be bought via mail-order, and they could be delivered to any part of the country.
A threshing flail was an agricultural tool made of two or more large sticks attached to one another by a short length of chain. It was used to separate grains from their husks. Their size and shape varied based on the preferences of the farmer as well as the type of grain being harvested. To use the threshing flail one stick was swung causing the other, called the swipple, to strike the mound of grain. This process would loosen the husks. The flail fell into disuse with the invention of new technologies that require less manual labor, such as combine harvesters.
Agricultural implements  Search this
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Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens