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Hay or stubble rake known as a 'Mankiller'

Date made: mid 19th century-early 20th century

Maker: unknown

Description: This Hayrake belonged to Mr Clarke the Crosby blacksmith, who used it in the early part of the 20th century and perhaps earlier. It is possible that he made this item himself, as many impliments in this era were locally made by blacksmiths.

This substantially made object has a row of long teeth or prongs, the triangular shaped handle is in two pieces with three cross struts. It has the remains of a coat of grey paint, probably agricultural grey lead paint.

This object exemplifies the hard physical nature of agricultural work in the 19th century. Using such a rake to gather hay by hand must have been backbreaking work. Although it is said the term 'Mankiller' for this type of rake derives from the fearsome-looking teeth, it is more likely it is a reference to heavy, back breaking work. There were many farm implements with sharp fearsome features so it is unlikely the hay rake would be feared above others. John Kneen 'The Gaaue' in the folk Life survey mentions 'man killer' hay rakes. "It was naturally very heavy work and hence it derived its name 'The Man Killer'. (FLS KJ/B page 15). This version of the name has also been reported to MNH staff by Ned Kennaugh.

Measurements: overall: 171 cm x 138 cm x 30 cm

Materials: iron, paint/oil, wood

Object name: rake

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1955-0309


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