A pitchfork is an agricultural tool with a long handle and thin, broadly separated pointed tines (or prongs) used to pitch or throw and lift loose materials like hay, grapes, leaves, dung, and other agricultural materials. Pitchforks commonly have two to six tines of various lengths and spacing, which depends on the purpose. Pitchforks are typically made of steel with long wooden handle, but they may also be made from bamboo, wood, wrought iron, metal alloy, and other materials. In some areas of England, a pitchfork is known as a prong. Pitchforks were originally made entirely of wood but today, its tines are commonly made of hard metal. Pitchforks are also similar to the shorter and sturdier garden fork.
Pitchforks can be used to loosen the soil in the garden without harming the roots of the plants. It is also a great tool for mixing the ingredients in compost in order to circulate the air throughout the bin.
Pitchforks also have been frequently utilised as weapons by those who could not afford or did not have access to expensive weapons such as swords or guns. As a result, this tool is stereotypically carried by gangs or angry mobs of enraged peasants. Because it is associated with peasantry, the pitchfork is often used as a nickname for populist leaders such as “Pitchfork Ben” and “Pitchfork Pat”. In Europe, pitchforks were first used during the early Middle Ages. The pitchfork is also used in religious symbolism. It is often used as a satire of Christian demonology in popular media. It also bears a resemblance to the trident of the Hindu god Shiva and the Greek god Poseidon.