Gold Rush period. A whole story in itself. Iconic form, 10 ¼” length. A little shorter than previous examples. Presumably sizes varied according to the stature and capability of the owner, as productivity was essential for survival. The iron hook had become loose, probably as it is oversized for these, and was stabilized with six wire bands pierced through the wood shaft. The “foot” at the butt was broken off. An attempted repair with three nails failed. The last remaining nail was hammered over and the tool was used in that condition with the break glossed over from wear. The foot provides the majority of the grip and leverage needed to wrestle the huge loads. The burden on the man who relied on this tool for his family’s survival and did his best to overcome its failure is heartbreaking.

Item ID: FNS5875

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