Letters to the Editor

| November 2005

Hand-tying baling wire

A friend purchased this unit for me at an auction in Martinsburg, W.Va., and now it's in Texas. Mounted on a sawhorse-type frame, 9 to 10 feet long, it is used to make baling wire for hand-tied hay bales.

On the end with the turning handle a piece of wire is looped over the hook and held by pushing the lever down with the left-hand and turning the handle with the right-hand, making a twisted loop. The other end of the unit is used by raising the clamping part and inserting wire, then pushing down the clamping bar. This removes the kinks and straightens the wire. While the wire is tight, push the cutter bar down and it cuts the wire. I've tried it and it works great, but I can see where you could spend a lot of wintertime hours making wire for the summer hay season.

There are no names on the unit, just single-digit casting numbers. Does anyone know the name of the manufacturer, or where this might have been made?

- Raymond Fenley
640 Jernigan Road
Copper Canyon, TX 75077
(940) 241-2700

Memories of a multi-feature "Monkey's Paw"

Some 70 years ago, my father and I went to the sale at the Norton (Kan.) Sale Barn. A traveling man sat outside at a small workbench, making this kitchen gadget he called a "monkey's paw." Dad bought one for my mother, and I still have it. His bench had jigs on it to make every twist and bend on that gadget, and the man made one for you in a few minutes.

He had a good line on all the things it could be used for. I can only remember about three: You could use it to remove hot jars from the boiler while canning; flip the handle over 360 degrees and use the back of the "paw" to remove hot pans or cans without handles; and remove boiled eggs from hot water by holding the "paw" end and cradling the egg in the handle end.