Honoring the Past with Functionality

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I just stumbled across your September 2010 online article, “Hay Carrier and Lift Pulley Display,” which I enjoyed reading. I’m an ex-farm boy who never lost sight of the fact that his roots are in the soil. Haying time and hog killings were two of my favorite events, probably because of the social aspects and great home cookin’ associated with these activities.

In the mid-1980s I was affiliated with a country church that built a worship sanctuary on the site of a former dairy farm. A huge barn on the site was converted into a youth activities center, and the expansive hayloft became a basketball court.

Two entrance foyers needed lighting. The pastor knew that I was an avid antique tool collector and a tinkerer. In keeping with the site’s original history, he wanted fixtures made from some of the barn’s original operating equipment, and directed me to a rusting pile of junk in the milk house. I immediately recognized a hay fork, very similar to the one used on our farm 50 years earlier. It was manufactured by Ney Mfg. Co., Canton, Ohio.

In one fixture, I centered a four-lamp cluster within the hay fork. In the second fixture, for symmetry, I fastened another four-lamp cluster on a section of barn beam that featured the trolley hanging from a section of overhead track that had been removed from the gables. Total cost: About $35, a real bargain for preserving a piece of farm history with new functionality.

Dick Hepner, Mooresville, North Carolina

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Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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