Chapter: Innovation

Hay Knife

"Hey! It's a knife!"
Hay knife from sickle-mower blade Hay Knife


Over time what was once common can become uncommon or even unknown.

Museums work to ensure that something is never completely forgotten, hence their extensive collections.

This artifact, which looks like a shovel with three jagged teeth, leads to many conversations with museum visitors. There are many guesses as to its purpose, with some suggesting the item had a notorious past, but it is a simple hay knife.

European settlers arriving in the Grand Marais and East Beaches area on Lake Winnipeg needed to provide food for their families making it necessary to have a supply of hay on hand to feed their livestock.

After hay has settled in a stack it can be very difficult to pull out with a pitch fork. A hay knife made it far easier. This particular hay knife was used by the farmer by pushing down on the metal ledge to apply pressure to assist in cutting off hay from the compressed and tangled stack.