Not infrequently at auctions here in New England (and on Ebay) you will see this sort of tool being offered as a “harpoon”, or even a “whaling harpoon”. This is a canny (or naïve) auctioneer’s descriptor sure to cause an elevated sales price. In the complete tool (this one is missing its handle) the handle is usually curved at its opper end and is generally made from a naturally bent piece of wood. Not a harpoon, this tool was a 19th century (or earlier) farmer’s tool that was used to be thrust into the centery of a hay mow or hay stack. Then when twisted with the curved handle the hand forged point and barb was removed from the hay mow or stack, carrying with it a sample of the interior hay, which could then be examined without damaging the structue of the stack. The farmer is most interested in the moisture and state of fermentation of the interior hay. So by feel, odor, and taste of the retrieved sample he could determine the nutritional goodness of the hay for his cattle. This is very much a bygone tool today, and few people know what they are. This example, although lacking its handle, is a particularly nice one, being larger (it is 13 ½” lomg) with a a graceful hand-forged curved shape, and a purposeful extra “bite” a couple of inches from the tip. In “as found” condition, it is ready to display as an unusual “whatsit”. Nice.