This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm is a grapple hay hook.
Several people submitted their guesses as to the identity of the artifact.
Bonnie Nolan wrote in an email: “Hay hook....My Dad used these to haul loose hay into the hay mound of the barn. We pulled them with horses.”
Fred Kraber also wrote via email: “This is a Old barn Hay hook used to raise Hay off Hayrack to put loose put loose hay up in hay loft in barn.”
John Oleo wrote in an email: “Picture is of Hay Tines or lifts for getting hay from wagon to barn haymow!”
Dorothy Vos wrote via email: “The picture of the artifact in the shopper is of a hay carrier. The hay carrier was used to move hay to a specific place in the hay mow after it was pulled up into the barn. They were attached to a series of ropes and pulley’s that allowed the farmer to get hay from the hay rack pulled into the barn where the farmer could dump the loose hay where he wanted it. Putting up hay was a very hot labor intensive job.”
In another email, Gene Ryken wrote: “This a hay grapple hook, used to move hay stacks (before baled hay/straw)into / out of a an 'old-fashioned' hay mow.”
On Facebook, Eric W. Boetger wrote: “Ice clamp, thong.”
Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact. She wrote: “The Grapple Hay Hook was used in the old barns to lift the cut hay up and into the mow where it was stored for the winter. Hay was an important crop on the farm, used as feed for the cows and other animals. Mowing, drying and hauling the hay to the barn for storage was back breaking work. Grapple hooks lifted the load – literally.