icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection

Detail 1
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.


label levels:

Inside of the stem of the flax plant are long hair-like fibers that are spun to make linen thread. The fibers are encased in a tough skin that must be removed to make the fibers accessible. There are a number of steps involved in the process of removing this outer skin. First the plant is "retted", or soaked in water, to rot the skin and then the plant is dried and worked over with the flax break. The hinged top piece would be lifted and the top of the plant stems would be placed across the base. As one hand pulls the plant slowly across the base, the other hand repeatedly slams the top down upon it to break up the skin along the whole length of the plant. Further processing would follow to remove the bits of skin and align the fibers for spinning.


top of page

Flax break

creator   Abell DeWolf
date   pre 1802
location   Conway, Massachusetts
height   31.31"
length   77.75"
width   14.5"
process/materials   wood
item type   Tools/Textile working Tools & Equipment
accession #   #1880.033.01

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

Flax Hatchel/Hackle


Flax Wheel

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback