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While the tools of the Middle Ages may seem ancient and inadequate to modern minds, many of them were quite innovative for their time. During the Middle Ages men and women were forced to rely on the resources they had at hand to create tools to aid them in farming, building, and other daily tasks. Find out more and try some of the tools yourself!
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There did exist, however, some larger tools like the tread wheel crane which utilized a pulley system and required several men to operate.
Auger = this tool is a type of hand-operated drill used to drill holes in wood.
Chisel = often made of metal, the chisel was used to sharpen or cut hard materials like wood and stone.
Trowel = this small shovel-like tool was often used to spread mortar onto stone or brick during the construction of buildings.
Adze = slightly resembling a hammer, the adze has a sharp blade positioned at a right angle to the shaft and it used to chip away pieces of wood to smooth or carve lumber.
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Plough = drawn by a horse or mule, the plough made it possible to turn even forests and swamps into arable land for agriculture.
Sickle = a handheld tool with a curved metal blade used for cutting grain.
Scythe = consisting of a long wooden shaft and a thin blade, this tool was used for mowing grass.
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There are many other types of tools of the Middle Ages. One of the largest industries during the Middle Ages was cloth making so tools had to be created for this craft. Cloth shears were made using sharpened iron and hand looms were used to make wool and cotton into cloth.
The spindle, a cylindrical apparatus, was used to spin wool and cotton fibers into thread. Mining was also an important industry during the Middle Ages - developments in the production of iron led to new innovations in tools and machinery.
With stronger, iron tools it became easier to plow fields and the agricultural industry blossomed.
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Tools of the Middle Ages Children Resources
- Write a story using the information you have learned about the subject. Select a type of craft that was prevalent during the Middle Ages (farming, building, sewing, etc.) and write a story from the perspective of a member of that craft, describing their daily tasks and what tools they used to accomplish these tasks.
- Build Middle Ages tools out of clay or construct paper replicas to hang on a bulletin board in the classroom. Choose one or tool to create a replica of and then brief description of the tool's function.
- Think about how the tools of the middle ages might have developed into the tools of today. Find pictures of modern tools that look similar or perform a similar function. Draw pictures comparing medieval tools with the tools of today.
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The Middle Ages were a time of great growth in industry, agriculture, even astronomy, and without the tools of the Middle Ages we would not have some of the tools we have today. The crude medieval version of the auger made was developed into the power drill and the hand loom and spindle were mechanized in the years following the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages were a rich time in history and the discoveries and developments made during those years continue to influence the world today.
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"Medieval Tools," Castles of Britain.com, http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castlezc.htm
"Farming in the Middle Ages," Middle Ages.uk, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/farming-middle-ages.htm
Turn Medieval Tools Into Fun Projects For Kids
The middle ages were a time of castles, jousting, and innovations in tools. Developments in tools and castles were made out of necessity - tools to facilitate new methods of farming and castles to provide defense against invading armies. Jousting tournaments were held for entertainment.