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Hammer, Hand; Late 19th – Early 20th Century; 1995/2.1

Hammer, Hand; Late 19th – Early 20th Century; 1995/2.1
Hammer, Hand
About this object
This small hammer was custom-built for local geologist John Hardcastle. It has a thin cylindrical wooden shaft as a handle. The iron head is elongate and angular, with one end worked into a blunt hammer face and other end into narrowed, blunt chisel blade.
Date Made
Late 19th – Early 20th Century
Medium and Materials
Handle length: 14.8 cm
Head length: 9.8 cm

Subject and Association Keywords
Hardcastle, John, 1847-1927
Subject and Association Description
John Hardcastle (1847-1927), who emigrated from Yorkshire to New Zealand with his family in 1858, became a notable geologist whose work, despite its importance, did not begin to win international recognition until the late twentieth century. His most significant contributions to geology include the discovery of glaciers’ grinding action as the source of loess deposits, and his Notes on the Geology of South Canterbury (1908), which remained the only popular guide to local geology for several decades. Hardcastle would have used this geological hammer to collect specimens for research during his field work.

Hardcastle’s interest in the regional landscape began while living on the family farm at Pleasant Valley near Geraldine, purchased in 1863. Although eventually he became a teacher and then a newspaper reporter and occasional editor for both the Timaru Herald and South Canterbury Times, he continued to be fascinated with local geology. His interest inspired him to read widely on the subject and to undertake field trips to observe first-hand the rocks and landforms around Timaru. Hardcastle was thus able not only to comment critically on the work of others, but also to formulate original theories about the formation of the landscape. He published both scientific and popular articles about his observations and theories, and gave talks and tours for locals. Hardcastle’s work continues his legacy even today.

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