By Fred Graham
The hay tedder itself can be an essential part of the hay arsenal. When hay is gone over with a tedder, it will cure very quickly after the hay is freshly cut. The wheels, frame and forks are made of high grade steel and would last a lifetime.
The fork shaft is operated by a chain which runs over a sprocket keyed to the main axle, so the drive is positive. Each fork is equipped with a spring mechanism in case they hit an obstruction like roots or rocks etc., and this would minimize breakage. By having the drive system in the centre of the frame rather than the wheels, it would keep hay from getting tangled in the gears’ mechanism.
The height of the forks can be controlled by a lever within easy reach of the driver, and the seat can be adjusted and secured at different heights to suit tall or short operators.
The hay tedder has been around since the mid-1800s. A write-up beside an illustration appears in the Sears Roebuck & Co. catalogue of 1897. It is priced at $21, which was quite expensive in its day. I obtained an eight-fork Tedder locally and spent the winter of 2016 disassembling it, removing the rust, welding some broken pieces, and priming and painting it. The results were better than I expected, considering the poor condition it was in initially. It is displayed on our two-acre property all summer, along with other implements and some restored tractors.
The manufacturer of my hay tedder is unknown, as it doesn’t appear to have any names, symbols or numbers on the machine parts. It was very enjoyable restoring it and I can’t wait to start on another next implement, perhaps a 3-bottom disk plow which I am hoping to find.
Information obtained from:
1. American Farm Implements, C.H. Wendel
2. Sears Roebuck & Co.
3. Sky Horse Publishing Inc., New York
4. Cockshutt Implements, Catalogue 1912, Brantford, Ontario
Where did the name “tedder” come from?
It comes from the word “ted” which is a verb used to describe the turning over and spreading out of straw, grass or hay so that it will dry.
Fred Graham’s beautifully restored Horse-Drawn Hay Tedder is displayed with other antique implements and tractors on his property in Trent Hills, Northumberland County