| The word hatchel was the proper name of the tool that most people called a flax comb. It was used, just as denoted by the common name, to comb the fibers of the flax plant in order to prepare them to be spun into linen thread. Although not an article that was directly related to the Amrican Revolutionary War, the hatchel was used in the creation of linen cloth, which would have been used for clothing and blankets.
The name hatchel is a variation of the French name hetchel which dates to the 12th and 13th Centuries, itself derived from hechel, or hechele, which are words of Middle English origin. The word hechel is believed to have been derived from the Old English word hecel, itself a variant of the Middle Dutch hekele. The word hackle, which is derived from the name for certain coarse feathers on birds, is sometimes used as the name for this item.
The hatchel shown above was made in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania in the year 1775.
Additional hatchels are exhibited in the gallery titled Kitchen Implements.