Haying: The Sweep Rake
One machine that
cut the man-hours was the sweep
rake. This was a very large fork used to collect
the piles of hay left by the dump rake and to haul them to the stack. It
eliminated hand loading the rack. Sweep rakes could be bought from machinery
dealers, but many were homemade. A horse or team of horses was hitched to each
corner of the sweep rake allowing the piles of hay to be swept up on the forks
of the rake as it moved forward.
were simply dragged to the stack when they were full, whereas the more
sophisticated manufactured units had wheels so the operator could lift the fork
off the ground for transportation to lighten the load for the horses. A
variation of the sweep rake used for upland hay required the attachment of a
long pole to the back of the rake. The horses were then hitched to the back of
the pole, which they pushed forward as they walked. Farmers often used both
variations of sweep rake in conjunction with field stacking devices.
Judy Larmour. Making Hay While the Sun Shone: Haying in Alberta Before 1955. n.p.: Friends of
Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society and Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism, Historic Sites and Archives Service, 1992. With permission from
of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society.