The old snatch block had first been used in the oilfield by my granddad. I don’t know if it went clear back to the wooden derrick days, when Granddad first began building them under contract, or if he got it after the steel derricks came along. I DO know that Dad and I used it many times around the farm, sawmill, or in the woods. If you anchor one end of a steel cable or a big rope to something solid, you can put the snatch block on the object being pulled, hook the other end to your tractor and pull half as hard to move the object. Often, that means pulling something that weighs far more than the tractor could pull without that advantage.
A snatch block differs from a simple pulley by being opened sideways and slipped over your line at any point, as opposed to needing the line to be threaded in, like threading a needle. This makes them a lot faster to hook up. Some, like ours, also swivel, so if the object rolls, the line won’t start rubbing against itself and wearing. This one has a four inch pulley, but five inch is also common. Though it would handle any size wire line up to ¾’ easily enough, we mostly used it with a one inch manila rope.
I got rid of my farm tractor a few years ago, and I’ll never use my gussied-up Toyota to do heavy work, like I did with my old flat-bed GMC. I have a much smaller version of snatch block that I use with 3/8 nylon rope with my lawn tractor. So, I really have no reason to keep the old one around. They sell new for around $150, so I advertised it at $75. Around here, though, and in these economic times, I may be lucky to get $25 out of it. Better that than nothing; I’ll always have the memories anyway. © 2016