Hay Spade

Hay Spade

Check out this artifact!

3/29/2023 | Mark Hanson, Curator

How an artifact was used is sometimes hard to determine.

Our database identified this artifact as a hay spade used to cut hay out of a larger stack. A secondary note suggested it was actually a whale blubber cutter. Though confident it was indeed a hay spade, we wanted to be sure.

Our friends at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (https://www.whalingmuseum.org/) confirmed our hay spade identification. This artifact was definitely not a blubber tool.

The hay spade is potentially a multi-use artifact, though. In his book, “The Museum of Early American Tools,” Eric Sloan suggests they could double as pumpkin cutters. Hay spades could easily remove the stalks from pumpkins used as animal feed. The stalks are a choking hazard!