On Tuesday of this week we showed you an antique farm tool from the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It was on display behind the main building of Pioneer Village during the fair. Only it was complete with a sign describing what it was used for. We conveniently turned the sign over before shooting the picture posted on Tuesday.
Now is the time for the drumroll. It's a picket fence maker! Picket fences were made of lathe and wire. This machine fastened the wire to the boards. The completed fence would go out one side, as noted in today's photo.
In case you're under 25 and may be viewing this on your smartphone, (which I maybe could find the site but probably couldn't figure out how to find this story), you may still not know what picket fence is. The modern use is as snow fence in wide-open areas, like Benton and Tippecanoe Counties, especially along major highways. The goal is that the fence, even though not solid, will catch enough snow to start the drift there behind the fence instead of on the highway itself. It's a technique that usually works pretty well and is used even more so in the western Corn Belt where there is more open territory along major roads.
In earlier days it had multiple uses. Sometimes it was used to make a lot for animals. They could dig under it maybe, especially pigs that liked to root and didn't have rings in their nose, but they couldn't get through it otherwise, unless some slats, as the wooden lathe are called, were broken.
It was also used to make corn cribs in a good year like this one when there wasn't enough room in the corn crib to hold all the ear corn. There was an art to it, with the goal being getting enough corn dumped in the center of the first ring by an elevator to hold the picket up, then installing the second swing, inserting lathe into the top wire of the bottom ring, just before corn got so high you couldn't shove the lath into the wire.