A sickle is a curved farm tool, hand normally used for harvesting grain crop or cutting grass for hay. The inside of the curve is the cutting edge is serrated. The farm hand swings the blade against the base of the crop, cutting through the stems with a sawing action. The sickle was replaced in the nineteenth century by the scythe that was more comfortable and mechanized harvesters and tractor machinery.

We have many sickles our collections:
1897.69.1 .1-2 Sickle and Flail Minster Lovell acquired Bateman
1899.78.11 0.1-3 Blackbeck old sickle made, Cumberland, used until 1825, and two sheets of similar sickles purchased from William Downing Webster
1899.21.1 small iron sickle with screw thread on the end for attachment to a handle. Unknown location, no doubt English. Probably part of a multi-bladed mechanical reaper. Henry Swainson Cowper was the donor. John Anstee the Museum of English Rural Life did not think it was English
1904.39.1-6 three iron scythes and 3 harvesting sickle blades without handles, formerly used in the harvest in South Leigh, Oxfordshire; obsolete by 1904 Donated by the Rev. Arthur East South Leigh, near Witney.
1905.20.1 fact-Sheffield sickle, purchased in Ripon in 1904 by 1 / -. Donated by Vicente Cecil Goddard
1905.74.4 Antique Iron socketed sickle in the Thames, Marlow and donated by Hewlett Gerald Sydney
1911.29.47 Old harvest sickle, Littlemore, Oxon, got around 1894, but used until circa 1840 Donated by Percy Manning.
Hook 1912.55.16-20 Suffolk harvest or sickle, “flashing” (a long sickle-shaped knife used with sickle) and collecting iron wire hook used in harvesting, “Bale” or fork collection, bound scythe when used to harvest maize. All donated by James Edge Partington
01/05/1939 sickle Old English, donated by Gordon Busby Minster Lovell Oxfordshire, used by his father and grandfather.
1940.5.60-2 3 sets of toothed sickle, or sickle, once common in the British Isles. No 62 has the manufacturer’s label “Thomas and Joseph Hutton.” According to notes made by museum staff: “A member of the firm (in Sheffield) said that it would be fifty years or more, handmade”, the letter is dated February 1949 Walter William Skeat donated. Correspondence of Thomas Bagshawe Beatrice Blackwood about the origins of the sickle 1940.5.62 Bagshawe says, “since I’ve been able to achieve this manufacturer in Sheffield … She says.” We should be able to tell you more about sickle you mention if we knew the color of the tag, the length of the sickle, if you have teeth, if so, how an inch? “I know the sickle has teeth but forgot to note the color of the label, its duration and number of teeth per inch…. sickle is only the second I’ve seen with the label of its creator. “[27 December 1948]. In the second letter, Bagshawe I wrote that “Mrs. GM Hutton, widow of the late head of the company, writes,” I am returning the sketch of the sickle can not place except that it would be fifty years or more, made hand. “Signing Hutton goes back at least to 1666 date that was born one Richard Hutton. he became apprentice sickle trade.’s family comes from Ridgeway, Sheffield, and the current firm and T. J. Hutton & Co. Ltd., is located at the same place. [13 February 1949].
1945.11.174 Hoz, with the saw-edge donor unknown mid 19th century (possibly Henry Balfour)
05/09/1947 iron sickle Essex probably donated by Violet Murray, described as “normal” by donor
11/02/1949 Hoz, curved sheet iron. Used by the mother of John Wilkes’, Emily Wilkes. By Tomlin, Kettering (on scarcely distinguishable stamp sheet). Size 2 Wigginton, Oxfordshire
11/03/1949 Hoz, made by Tomlin, Kettering. 3.Size Donated by John Wilkes by Beatrice Blackwood Wigginton, Oxfordshire
11/04/1949 Hoz, made by Tomlin, Kettering. No size (larger than 03/11/1949 [size 3]). Fixed blade with leather scrap. Mango has been badly eaten by worms (treated). Again by John Wilkes donated by Beatrice Blackwood Wigginton, Oxfordshire
chaff cutters
Chaff is the term for corn husks or other grain that has been separated by threshing or winnowing. However, it is also used for hay that has been cut into very short lengths. A straw-cutter machine is cutting short lengths. Converts the coarse fodder in a way that is more palatable for livestock. We have a straw-cutter:
03/08/1958 obsolete iron blade chaff cutter, length 34.5 inches. Tang and the loop at one end for attachment to the crosspiece in the business end of the machine. Other end bifurcated, which originally had a wooden handle. Mr. W. Currill or Curill, donor, 75 years old, collected in this Hockmere Street, Cowley and remember, as a child, seeing these chaff cutters in use.
A flail is an instrument for threshing corn by hand, consisting of a wooden staff or handle, at the end of which a pole or club thicker and shorter, or swipple called Swingle, hung so as to swing freely. The grain is separated from their shells. We have some examples:
1902.37.2 Flail for threshing, Broomfield near Chelmsford, Essex donated by Christy Miller
1911.29.51-2 two old threshing-flails, Littlemore, Oxon. Donated by Percy Manning
1920.13.1 shelled corn long handle used to thresh Hinnings House Farm, Ravenglass donated by William Henry Walker
1920.14.1 long-handled whip used for threshing corn Burnthwaite Farm in Cumbria donated by William Henry Walker
05/03/1939 Swivel-flail, used by his father and grandfather, donated by Gordon Busby Minster Lovell Oxfordshire
1909.59.16 Old Oxfordshire threshing-flail purchased from William H. Parker, a dealer in Oxford.
Flail 01/11/1949 with leather hinge. Donor (an elder) used it during the 1939-1945 war emergency. Belonged to his father. Donated by John Wilkes by Beatrice Blackwood Wigginton, Oxfordshire
07/10/1961 flail Sussex; in two parts joined by leather strap, 2 ‘7 “3’ 11”. Dated 1894 is used for threshing corn. Donated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew by Frank Norman Howes
To winnow grain is present or other substances in the wind or current of air so that the lighter particles, straw, split or blown away, so that only the grains remain. An example of England:
Winnowing basket 1903.44.1 (vannus) Cambridgeshire. Now almost obsolete donated by Francis Darwin, son of Charles Darwin
Several crop tool
5/8/1947 Winding handle for maize donated by Violet Essex Murray probably binding. The donor described it as “more unique” than other items that she donated [sic]
1931.58.8 Balance to check the weight and quality of cereals, English, 19th century Donated by Henry Balfour