Shears, Sheep
Shears, Sheep
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MacPhee House Community Museum

Shears, Sheep

Accession number: 1984.001.005
Object type: Double Bow
Date: 1870 – 1910
Materials: Steel, Paint.
Measurements: 31.5 cm L x 9.5 cm W x 3.4 cm HWidth is at base of blades. Blades are 16.0 cm long x 5.0 cm at their bases. handles are 12.5 cm long x 1.9 cm wide and 1.3 cm thick. The springs joining the handles are together 9.0 cm across x 3.4 cm deep, each having a diameter of 4.5 cm.
Group: Agriculture Implements

No provenance is available for this example. Sheep shearing with sigle and double bow shears is discussed at

Shears of this type have been in use for many centuries. The cateloguer remembers, as a student,  excavating  similar shears about 10 cm long in the late 1950s on a "rescue dig," from a dwelling of a village abandoned in north Oxfordshire, England at the time of the Black Death (1348 - 1350). The size would in that case would indicate use for minor tasks, and had a single bow design.

1984.001.005 was used for shearing sheep.

Two opposed triangular blades attached to U section pressed steel handles which are fixed to two semi-circular springs joined on their free edge.

The springs (Double Bow) joining the handles are "sprung" so that the blades are naturally open. Pressing the handles together moves the blades together with a shearing action. The springs open the blades as pressure is released on the handles. The advantage of the design is that the spring re-opens the blades with no further effort required. The disadvantage is that the cutting action is made agaist the resistance of the wool or other material being cut, and also the work required to compress the spring. Tiring of the operator, or the development of an impressive grip, is a consequence.


Description: Red painted handles; triangular blades.