Farm Collector Blogs > First Things

Can you identify these mystery tools?

by Leslie McManus


Tags: antique farm tools, farm life, livestock,

It seems everyone enjoys a good mystery. For proof, look no further than "What Is It," one of the most popular monthly features in Farm Collector.

Every issue, readers contribute photos of items for the section and others pitch in to identify the items, often sharing memories of personal experience with long forgotten tools. We recently compiled more than 150 of our favorites over the past 12 years for a special edition "book-a-zine" we've called Farm Collector Field Guide to Mystery Farm Tools.

When it comes to antique farm tools it's not surprising that many remain stubbornly unidentifiable. Chapter 6 in the Field Guide addresses those Odd Lots that remain a mystery. We're giving these tools one more chance to be identified and you could be the hero that sheds some light on these stumpers.

Below are the photos and descriptions for 24 unidentified tools. At the bottom of this post, you'll see a field inviting you to "Add Your Comment." Simply post a comment with your thoughts and guesses as to what these tools were used for, referring to the number assigned to each item. We're hoping to get a lively conversation going so feel free to post whatever comes to mind.

So, come on - we've got some mysteries to solve!

 

Item 1 

1. Possible harrow part or milk cow shackle.

   

2. Unidentified crank pulley: The piece with the thumbscrew slides up and down; the hooks open and close slightly. There are no markings.

Item 2 
   
OL03 

3. Undetermined device: Weighing about 4 pounds, the piece is 19 inches wide both closed and open. The pulleys, handle, brackets and hinges are made of lightweight wood. the screw and bolts are metal.

   

4. Possible leather harness machine 

Item 4 
   
Item 5 

5. Unknown hammer: Found by a Dakota Territory homesteader in 1883. About 10 inches long; head is 3 inches wide.

   

6. Unrecognized tool: Wood, perhaps maple, reinforced with steel on both sides; measures 14-by-16 inches. Carved into one side: "POT.8."

Item 6 
   
Item 7 

7. Unidentified cage 

   

8. Unknown odd lots: The owner set in the following clues: "I got them in a box of tools at a farm auction. I have asked many old-timers, and nobody knows what they could have been used for. They are 13, 18 and 27 inches long plus a 5-inch handle."

Item 8 
   
Item 9 

9. Unknown tool: Two views of the item found in a sextant's shop.

   

10. Unidentified knife: Measures 14 inches long by 3 inches wide. Less than 1/8-inch thick with sharpened bevel on top and bottom. Blade sharpened on both sides and slightly cupped. "G.W. Proctor" cast into blade center, twice, in a "V" configuration.

Item 10 
   
Item 11 

11. Unidentified small stove 

   

12. Unknown tool 

Item 12 
   
Item 13 

13. Possible washing machine 

   

14. Possible stove part 

Item 14 
   
Item 15 

15. Unknown device: Cement-like base measures 4-by-6 inches. Only remaining markings on serial number tag: "Mfg. Co. New York. Serial number 180875."

   

16. Unknown tool 

Item 16 
   
Item 17 

17. Possible crate or fence tool: Measures 14 inches long; cast with "R 58."

   

18. Unrecognized tool: Mostly wood with a hinged part; movement limited by a chain. The other end of the long member has a 1-1/4-inch round wood peg through it protruding from each side about 1-inch. Height indicated by yardstick is approximately 30 inches.

OL18 
   
Item 19 

19. Unknown tool: Found buried in a farm grove. Measures about 10 inches wide when opened. One of the round ends rotates.

   

20. Unidentified clamp: 1-1/2 inches long and 1 inch in diamater; the spring returns the piece to the closed position.

OL20 
   
Item 21 

21. Possible baling tool 

   

22. Unidentified lathe 

Item 22 
   
Item 23 

23. Unknown implement: Made of very heavy wood, the piece is 30 inches long with a 1-inch handle attached to a cylinder 4 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The movable cylinder is 4-1/2 inches long and 6 inches in diameter.

   

24. Unrecognized device: Weighing 4 pounds, the piece is 19 inches wide both closed and open. The pulleys, handle, brackets and hinges are made of lightweight wood. The screw and bolts are metal.  

Item 24