Answers to September 2009 Mystery Tools


September 2009 Mystery Tool B

B. Also a mystery: no identification for this item.

Submitted by Reuben Gunderson, Strandquist, Minn.

Content Tools

To view images of all four September 2009 mystery tools and accompanying patent illustrations, click the Image Gallery link to the right.

A. We’re stumped – and so are our readers. No identification for this item. Photo submitted by Robert Polk, Payson, Ariz.

B. Also a mystery: no identification for this item. Photo submitted by Reuben Gunderson, Strandquist, Minn.

C. Wire-splicing device for use in fence repair, as identified by Steve Clemens, Mazeppa, Minn., and Joel Blasius, Tea, S.D. Photo submitted by Darold Krenz, Bemidji, Minn. See patent 1,322,136 for a similar item.

D. Clinker catcher, as identified by Ken Martin, Papillon, Neb.; Bill Mattingly, Owensboro, Ky.; James L. Randall, Malott, Wash.; Craig Ricksgers, Linden, Mich.; and Joel Blasius. “After you burn coal you end up with  ‘clinkers’ in the bottom of the furnace,” Ken explains. “A clinker is coagulated slag or metal impurities that ‘melt’ from the coal as it becomes coke. Most clinkers consist of pyrites that are naturally included in coal. Periodically one has to reach into the bottom of the furnace with the grapple and remove the hot clinkers. In a home you might get enough to fill a metal 5-gallon bucket.

“On the farm in the winter, it was my chore when I got home from school to go to the basement and fill up the ‘stoker’ with coal  (a box with an auger to the furnace) and remove the ash and clinkers from the furnace.”

Craig notes that a piece is missing from the one pictured. “There should be an opposing finger or hook at the end with the double hook. There were many variations of this tool: Some had five fingers, others had three. Some worked by rotating the handle. In the picture, the handle is what you called the single hook end. Others worked with a spring-loaded lever that you squeezed or pulled.” Photo submitted by James Moloney, Palos Hills, Ill. See patent 824,642 for a similar piece.

To submit photos:
Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to:

  • Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain background. Include dimensions and any markings on the piece. We cannot guarantee every photo will be published, nor can we respond to inquiries regarding when photos will be published. No photos will be returned.
  • Digital photos should be sent as .jpgs at a minimum of 300 dpi.

To identify an item:
Send answers (accompanied by your name and address) to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send e-mail responses to