by Philip Mohr, curator
Sickles are among the oldest agricultural tools. The blade cuts crops, and its curved shape gathers the cuttings for easy collecting. Harvesting crops with hand tools is very slow and laborious in comparison to the powered mechanical equipment developed since the mid-1800s. The History Center has no details specific to this sickle, but it may have been used on a Des Plaines farm for harvesting some crops where mechanized harvesting was not an option. Not even a century ago, many Maine Township residents would have spent this time of year harvesting their crops for sale to Chicago markets or local canning operations.