Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Hammer Time

A selection of snowball hammers.
Did you know that Shelburne Museum has one of the largest collections of snowball hammers in the nation? Do you even know what a snowball hammer is? I definitely did not before I started working here.

Snowball hammers, also known as snow knockers, are used to remove excess snow and ice from horseshoes. Most hammers are made of iron and often have snap rings or hooks that can easily clip onto a horse's harness.

Our snowball hammer collection includes many varieties from early America. Blacksmiths gave snowball hammers, like the ones featured on the left, as gifts to customers. The hammers served as small tokens of appreciation for their loyal business, as well as a way for blacksmiths to practice and demonstrate their skills.

Recently, I traveled to some co-workers' houses to groom their horses and further investigate snowball hammers. While iron hammers like the ones in Shelburne Museum's collection are not often used today, you can definitely see how they would come in handy.

Habibi models a snowball stuck in her horsehoe.
Snowball hammers: Yet another example of the wonderful things you'll find at Shelburne Museum!
Sandy Sock's hooves are snow free!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article and clear photos. I was trying to explain snowball hammers to some folks and this was very helpful! We have a snowball hammer, use it on the barefoot old horse, who sometimes gets iceballs. Just a great tool for getting that ice off in a couple controlled swings, no harm to the hoof or horse. Sure is the right tool for the job!