1975.49 | Log peavey

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Log peavey
1900, 20th century
136.4 x 21.3 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

As the spring thaw began in April or May, the river drivers came to the lakes or riverbanks where the teamsters had piled the winter's cut. The drama of the spring log drive was about to begin. The drive was sometimes referred to as "watering the wood." With the longer spring daylight, a workday of 15 hours or more was not uncommon.

Log stamps were used to brand each piece at either end with the registered mark of the lumber company. The timber was then heaved into the water, splashing and crashing. The peavey was most often used on river drives to lift, push and move logs that jammed together in shallow water or on rocks, or had washed ashore on the riverbank. The tool featured a thumb-like hook, which moved up and down, but not sideways, thus giving the logger more control in moving timber.

  • What

    The peavey revolutionized river driving. The spike at the end steadied the log, unlike earlier tools, which would swing erratically and often pitch men into the river.

  • Where

    Usually used on river drives, the peavey could also help load and unload logs at the skidways.

  • When

    This example dates from about 1900.

  • Who

    Joseph Peavey of Stillwater, Maine, invented the peavey in 1858.