I am so excited to present this wonderful, early apple rake today! It has been in my collection for years and certainly is a very unusual and rare piece! It makes for a great display and could not be any more primitive!
I purchased this apple rake as a local find back in California about 30 years ago and have never seen one like it since. Many years later I came across this item in a Kitchen and Collectible Antique book that referenced it as an apple rake. The information was scarce but I believe it was used to rake apples that had fallen on the ground even though the handle is not very tall. I guess you would have to bend over and rake the apples in a pile so they could be gently placed (for fear of bruising) in an apple gathering basket.
I believe this hand fashioned piece dates to the last quarter of the 1700's to the early 1800's so it is quite old. The nails are smithy forged as referenced in images 6 & 7. There are 5 elongated pegs and each peg was fitted into existing holes located in the rake. These pegs were secured one by one with a tiny forged nail. As you can see two of the pegs have a split starting from the top and continue on toward the middle. The last peg has a knurled appearance and the color is a bit lighter than the rest of the pegs. The middle peg is a little loose but is still secure. It appears the handle was mortised into the body of the rake and is loose as it moves from side to side however it is still secure.
There is a make~do repair on the back of the rake as an old screw was used to keep the handle in place as a result of constant use…. especially at harvest time (see image 8). Two iron half semi circle pieces are visible on the back, one off to the right and one off to the left. I used some string to tie on the right loop and used a small piece of wire to tie on the left so this rake could be hung on the wall as shown in images 9 & 10.
The warm patina and smooth surface on the handle could not be better…just what you would like to see in a piece this old. The body of the rake was hand carved out of wood and if you look closely you can see a raised area in the front on the left hand side between the second and last peg.
I can envision using this in a bedroom to hang a small Child's bonnet or two or you can hang dried Prairie flowers mixed with candles as shown in the first image. Mittens or mufflers may be another possibility for easy access in the mudroom. There are certainly many decorating options for this great piece that was used on a farm long ago. The style, character, early form, not to mention the rarity are really hard to resist! Enjoy!
The rake measures 8" tall, almost 10" across (right to left), and the pegs vary in size (the tallest measures 3 3/4" while the smallest measures 3"). The depth of the rake is 1 3/4" (thick) and the handle depth is not quite 3/4".
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