Sickles for Export – 65,000 to Burma

December 1945

South Yorkshire Times December 22nd 1945

Sickles for Export
Conisbrough Sending 65,000 to Burma

Overnight we have found ourselves in a new world. Yet the old ways of living go on. Water is still drawn in Egypt as it was in the time of the Pharaohs, and the age that has produced the atomic bomb is still producing sickles – and finding good use for them.

Sickle making is another story which can be added to the “Now it Can be Told” series. During the week ending December 12, 96 % of the output of George Booth and Sons Ltd., Conisbrough, one of only three firms of sickle manufacturers in England, was for export trade.

Well might have any local Kings soldier taking part in the North African campaign in 1942 have paused to see the familiar trade mark on a sickle and said: “well! sithee! Booths of Conisbrough”: then written to tell about it. Many of them did, Booths have no need of any specific address. “Booths England” find them from all over the world.

When the administration of the civilian population was taken over in the North African landings in 1942, the difficulty of supplying the need for sickles, previously met by Germany, was felt after only a few months. It was met by Booths of Conisbrough.

In 1943 they supplied the orders from the Ministry of Supply, 27,000 sickles for Casablanca, Algeria’s and Tunis, and in 1944, 54,000. All for corn cutting. At present the firm is engaged in a Ministry of supply contract for S. E. A. C. Civil Administration for 65,000 sickles for Burma – for cutting rice. Rice is one product that cannot be cut by machinery.

Beet Knives, Too.

Is an interesting and appropriate tie-up with the fact that the Rt. Hon. Tom Williams. M. P., Member for their constituency in which Conisbrough falls, is Minister for agriculture, that all the beat knifes bought by the Ministry of agriculture over the last two years for harvesting wide cups of sugar beet throughout the country, have been made by Booths. In 1944 they turned out 19,000; in 1945, 24,000. And these in addition to those supplied through the normal trade channels to individual firms. Another contribution to the country’s war effort was the production of 36,300 reaping hooks for issue to the army.

The firms export markets are as wide apart as South Africa and Canada, Australia and South America, Palestine. Denmark, Mexico and the South Sea Islands. There was an interesting change during the war in Southeast Asia. When the Japanese occupied Burma it was planned to grow rice to feed the Indian army and the civil population in British Guiana. There was a correspondingly large demand from British Guiana for sickles, as there had been in peacetime from Burma.

Their recent export output is a remarkable level of achievement. Normal peacetime figures were roughly 80%, their biggest market was in South America. The firm will celebrate its century in 1947.