Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Jackson hay fork at Bartley Ranch loop trail

Jackson hay forks, made by the Jackson Farm Implement Co., came into use for farming by the mid-nineteenth century [1]. These dangerous tools contained sharp steel tines that were lowered into hay to lift it up and move it around [2]. One such fork is safely displayed at the historic Bartley Ranch in Reno, Nevada. The interpretive panel next to this old fork describes its operation in combination with a Mormon Hay Derrick:

To stack the loose hay a derrick such as the “Mormon” style derrick, characterized by a boom [arm of a crane] that pivots atop the mast, was needed. Moving loose hay from a wagon, slip, or buckrake [long-toothed rake] also required the use of a sling or Jackson fork attached by cable or rope to the boom. A Jackson fork's wooden frame has four metal tines. When the fork was closed the tines were pushed into the loose hay and the frame clamped down. Once secured, a harnessed horse was walked a set distance away, pulling the cable through a system of pulleys on the derrick frame. The derrick arm would be swung, and then by tripping the dump rope the fork released to dump the hay. 

It does not need much fantasy to imagine a possible mishap that would have harmed horse or man. A photo of the OSU Archives shows a Jackson hay fork and a derrick in use around 1917 on an Oregon farm [3].

References and more to explore
[1] Jackson Hay Fork:
[2] Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage Photo Album > Jackson Fork:
[3] Oregon State University (OSU) Archives > Jackson hay fork:

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