Grain cradle - history, use, and how to make one
A grain cradle is a scythe attachment that looks like a large claw. As the mower mows a stroke, the grain stacks up in the cradle. At the end of the stroke the mower can neatly lay the grain down in the windrow with all of the seed heads facing the same direction.
Before the invention of the cradle, grain was harvested with a sickle. The harvester held handfuls of grain stalks as they cut and collected stalks of grain in neat bundles that were tied off or stacked in the field to dry. The invention of the scythe, roughly a sickle with a long handle, allowed people to mow and harvest without having to bend over. However, grain harvesting with a scythe was inefficient, as cut material fell in windrows in a haphazard way, which led to loss of grain. The invention of the grain cradle allowed mowers to harvest grain efficiently and more quickly.
In time mowers were replaced by horse-drawn machines, and later by fuel powered machines. But today the scythe and cradle are an important tool for farmers and gardeners working on a scale for which heavy machinery in undesirable.
For instructions on how to make a grain cradle click here.