Collectors gather for the first-ever Hay Tool Swap Meet and Show.
Dale Smithhisler with his prize: a salesman’s sample of a Myers Cloverleaf trolley. Shown here with its full-size brother, the sample is the kind of thing that stops other collectors dead in their tracks. The piece is just under a century old, Dale says, and is completely intact, a rarity in itself.
A portion of Steve Weeber’s display of handsomely restored hay trolleys. He and others in the hobby have conducted extensive research to determine the scope of trolley manufacture. Patents and trade literature – such as the Louden Barn Book, which among other things gives complete instruction in rigging trolleys – have proved invaluable resources, he says.
Brakes weren’t always standard equipment. A hundred years ago, they were often regarded as an expensive option. This device – permanently installed on a wagon – was an inexpensive alternative. At the bottom of a hill, it would have been released to drag on the ground. When horses pulling the wagon up a hill stopped to rest, the weight of the wagon would have shoved this brace into the ground, preventing the wagon from rolling and giving the team a break.
There’s more to the hay tool category than trolleys. In addition to various hay-related tools, Jim Moffet also collects these hay sling releases.
Cedar Rapids artist Genevieve Grenhaw hand-painted lettering on trolleys and other pieces during the show. Steve doesn’t think restoration affects hay trolley values. But a comprehensive restoration – sandblasting, reassembly, elaborate paint jobs – can be spendy. “If you do it, it’d better be because you love it,” he says, speaking with the voice of experience.
Hay forks and trolleys were among the treasures at the first-ever Hay Tool Swap Meet held in May near Iowa City, Iowa. Hay forks, attached to trolleys, grasped the load; hay knives were used to cut stored hay.
A Jennings horse hay fork. Patented in 1869, the piece was attached to a hay trolley to carry hay into a haymow. “To my knowledge, this is the only one that has survived,” says Jim Moffet, who displayed the item at the hay tool show for an Illinois club.