Blade, Hedgecutter

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A large blade from a boxthorn hedge-cutter. The main body is a long parallelogram with rounded corners and two free swinging cutting blades at either short end. It has a large hole at centre with six smaller holes surrounding it. The main body has soldered and welded metal patches around the hole at centre, along the top and bottom long edges at the centre and in the corners. The cutting blades taper to a cutting edge along one side.
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Boxthorn hedges have been a feature of the southern and coastal Taranaki landscape for more than a century. As a result a variety of contraptions to cut the hedges of these viciously spined plants have been invented locally. This blade comes from a boxthorn hedge cutter made by Taranaki farmer, Lou Butler, and his sons in the 1960s. In the first half of the 20th Century boxthorn hedges were trimmed by hand if they were cut at all. In 1942-1943, Lou Butler mounted a revolving blade on a Fordson tractor to create Taranaki's first mechanical hedgecutter. During the 1950s and 1960s Lou and his sons, Colin, Lou and Owen developed more efficient boxthorn hedgecutters. Others soon followed the Butlers' example, and created dozens of home-built machines by modifying trucks, tractors, army tanks and Bren-gun carriers.
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