This section is from the book "A Dictionary Of Modern Gardening", by George William Johnson, David Landreth. Also available from Amazon: The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses.
This instrument is preferable to the spade, even for digging over open compartments, for the soil can be reversed with it as easily as with the spade; the labour is diminished, and the pulverization of the soil is more effectual. (See Digging.) For stirring the soil in plantations, shrubberies, and fruit borders, a two-pronged fork is often employed, but that with three prongs is quite as unobjectionable, and a multiplicity of tools is an expensive folly. Dr. Yelloly's fork is certainly a good working implement. Its entire length, three feet three and a half inches; handle's length, two feet two inches; its diameter one and a half inch; width of the entire prongs seven inches at the top; width at the points six inches; prongs thirteen and a half inches long, and at the top seven-eighths of an inch square, tapering to a point. The straps fixing the head to the handle are eleven inches long, two inches wide, and half an inch thick, feathering off; weight of fork, eight pounds.
Mr. Toward, of Bagshot Park, describes a very serviceable implement of this kind; he says - "One person with this implement will take up with greater facility more leaves than two persons could do with any other tool. It is simply a large four-tined fork, made of wood, shod with iron; the tines are eighteen inches long, and are morticed into a head about seven- teen inches long, and one and a half inch by two and a quarter inches thick. The tines are one inch in width, and one and a half inch in depth at the head, gradually tapering to a point with a curve or bend upwards. The wood of which they are formed ought to be hard and tough; either oak or ash will do, but the Robi- nia Psuedo-Acacia is preferable to ei- ther. The head should be made of ash, with a handle of the same, and should be two feet four inches long. Its re- commendations are its size and lightness, the leaves also do not hang upon it as on a common fork, the large size of the tines tearing them asunder." - Gard. Chron.