The tahona is a huge, heavy wheel used to crush agave. They are typically made of volcanic stone and can weigh up to two tons, although some of the older ones are made from wood. Before the modern machinery, distillers would use donkeys to pull the wheels around in a circular pit filled with roasted agave piñas. Be it by donkey, horse, tractor or steam powered machine the process is the same - by crushing and squeezing them under the heavy weight, the tahonas convert them the piñas to pulp, ready to be fermented.
Every Artisanal Mezcal uses a tahona to crush its piñas. Traditionally tequila was also made using them, but the industry moved to mechanical extraction (like shredders and diffusers) with all but a few traditional distillers still using tahonas today.