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What the average American knows about actual modern farming is often embarrassing. For instance, my uncle works and owns a live, no B.S. farm in Iowa, and the extent of my land-working knowledge still tends to end in e-i-e-i-o. To get a little less ignorant, I check out Real American Farmer and other media like it on the dtnprogressivefarmer.com site.

Agriculture just doesn’t come up in everyday conversation in many parts of the country. Even in rural-ass Texas where I grew up we learned what we thought were completely useless skills, like how to properly wash a goat and how to cut a steer’s hair so it hides its flaws for show, and even this is more mainstream than farming.

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Inspired by a cool find by Toolmonger reader whiteforge, I dug up a photo of this unusual curved wrench, courtesy of Ron Geeson of Made in Birmingham. The wrench was made for the English Fordson tractor, or “automobile plow,” that Henry Ford & Sons Company developed in 1917 — in the 1920s manufacture moved exclusively to Ireland and England. The Fordson was the first mass-produced tractor that small farmers and ordinary people could afford, and was in production until 1991 when the company sold its tractor division to Fiat.

This particular wrench has a unique snail logo in relief on the handle. It was tough to track down, but evidently it comes from Snail Brand tools, a division of Smith Francis in Birmingham, England, who’ve been in business since 1934. While these vintage spanners are primarily in circulation overseas, a recent eBay auction (now closed) shows you can still get them for around £18, or about $30.

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