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De la Fuenta Sugar Beet Knife

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What do beets and baseball have in common?

About the Model

In 1919 the Great Western Sugar Company recruited mostly Mexican workers in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. They worked in sugar beet fields, using handmade and modified knives made out of metal and wood. These tools were a hallmark of U.S. agricultural workers. These metalworking skills were also used to make and shape baseball equipment. The wood on the handle of this beet knife is held together with duct tape. The tape provides a little cushion but is fraying from years of use. Written in black marker is the surname De La Fuenta, who used this knife in Colorado. Workers would use this knife to grab the beet with the hook and then slice off the leaves with the sharp edge. Some workers have said that this motion would hone their pitching arms for baseball.


Arts + Humanities


American history, culture, sugar, beet, tool, equipment, archaeology, rust, orange


May 31 2022