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Peavey/Swing Dingle

Still found in many garages, basements and barns around central and northern Maine, the logging tool known as a peavey has an interesting story. This tool, with a wood handle of 30-50 inches and a large metal spike on the end, was the creation of Joseph Peavey of Stillwater, Maine in the mid-1850’s. The Joseph Peavey story goes something like this! One day, Peavey, was on a bridge in Stillwater (c1860’s) watching where a log jam was happening as logs were making their way to the Penobscot River. As he watched the loggers struggle to loosen the logs in the jam with the tools they had at that time (a cant hook without a pick, a hookless handspike, a swing dog), he had an idea. He went to his blacksmith shop and with his son, came up with an improvement. Peavey added a clasp with lips through which a bolt could be placed. Then a hook (called a dog) was placed below the clasp and also a pick was added at the end of the handle. This adaptation kept the hook from swinging and made the tool easier to use. Peavey began to manufacture these tools “in a small way.” His operating capital was said to be “only $200 and he valued each tool he made at $230.” This tool became known as a peavey although many in this area still use the terms cant dog and peavey as interchangeable terms. The museum has a swing-dingle on display (cant dog with a swinging hook - Dana Brown Collection) and a peavey made by the Peavey or P V Company. The Peavey Manufacturing Company still exists today in the Bangor area. A recent museum visitor from California who also happens to be named Peavy (no second e) was interested in learning more about the peavey. He hopes to connect his family tree to Joseph Peavey. Visit the Dana Brown Logging/River Drive Room at the museum to see examples of the many tools used to get the wood for the paper mill! Information above from Peavey Manufacturing Co. website and museum reference books Lumbering in Maine, 1820-1861 (Wood) and Lumberjack Lingo (Sorden, Vallier). The second book calls the cant dog a “short-handled peavey for dislodging logs from the banks.” The book states, “A classic remark heard on the drive when a man fell in was ‘to hell with the man, save the cant dog.’” These and several other interesting logging/river drive books and materials are available for reference use at the museum.

Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM In the Museum Store! ***2022 Calendars, Everybody Loves a Parade! $14.00 each, add $5 each by mail *** Preowned yearbooks - $10.00 each. *** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin. *** DVD’s, Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each). ***Books: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “The Nighthawk,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks - $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 history & $10 architecture; “Our Real World,” (M. Murphy) $15.00; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00 and several preowned books (out of print) by local authors. *** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item. *** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477. *** By mail at Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, Facebook or on the web at or on Facebook. ***By email or

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