With reference to Steve’s note (April 9th) on the Pembrokeshire snath in the Museum of English Rural Life, those interested in snath variations can study this page from an old catalogue.
I came across this on the internet. It’s a catalogue from the Sheffield manufacturer Tyzack and Turner and dates back approximately a hundred years. This page shows quite a range of poles (shafts) on offer, from the familiar S-shaped item to very nearly straight. Presumably the range reflects regional preferences, born out of variations in crop being harvested, climate, type of blade and method of use. I wonder if variations in personal preference came into it as well. The evidence from old paintings also suggests that the S-shaped snath that people regard as the ‘english’ standard was by no means universal. Perhaps it was a relatively recent evolution, or a more expensive variant.
There are other items of interest in the catalogue, including strickles and sickles. To view go to www.tyzack.net/Scythes.pdf