Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about pitchfork, the tool. There is a separate article on Pitchfork, the online magazine.
A pitchfork is a tool with a long handle and long, thin, widely separated pointed tines (also called prongs) used to lift and throw loose material, such as hay, leaves, grapes, or other agricultural products. Pitchforks typically have from 2 to 6 tines and have different lengths and spacing depending on its purpose.
A spading fork (sometimes called a garden fork) is another tool that is forklike and is sometimes also called a pitchfork; it is used for loosening and lifting soil in a garden or farm and is used similarly to a spade. Its tines are usually shorter than for a pitchfork, are flat and wide rather than thin and round, and are more closely spaced. The handle is shorter than for a pitchfork and usually has a D handle. This fork is also useful for lifting potatoes from the ground.
In Europe, the pitchfork was first used in the early Middle Ages, at about the same time as the harrow. The pitchfork was originally made entirely of wood; today, the tines are usually made of hard metal.
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