Coalisland Spade Mill
Throughout much of Ireland, the spade was the main tool of cultivation, not the plough. Different shapes of spades were used in different parts of Ireland. Most spade mills were in Ulster, because Southern spade blades, being open, required no welding and were made by local blacksmiths.
Whereas Ulster spades had welded sockets and spade mills came into existence to mass-produce these.
The spade-maker was a highly skilled craftsman, able to make up to 120 different varieties of spades in up to five sizes, very often without reference to pattern books. Variations in spade characteristics were dictated by soil conditions, the job in hand and local tradition.
This spade mill was operated by four generations of the Patterson family until the early 1950s.
Original location: Derry townland, Coalisland, County Tyrone.
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