The genius of pioneer inventors can confound us. Countless farm tools and implements contraptions that revolutionized agriculture in the 19th and early 20th centuries have become contemporary curiosities, or even mysteries. This month we present four items sent in by readers. The first is sort of a six-legged stand with an eyehole at the top end. The second resembles a hand-cranked grinder of some sort. The third resembles a hinged set of tongs, but has an S-hook at the end from which it apparently hung. The fourth has a hand, a crank, two gears, and a bracket at the bottom.
April 2005 Mystery Tools
Tool "A" This item remains a mystery: No responses were received. Photo submitted by Paul Nighswonger, Alva, OK.
Tool "B" A land measuring wheel, as identified by Frank Scheibert, Middletown, Ohio, and Lou Jean Scott, Maquoketa, Iowa. The one pictured is probably exactly 10 feet in circumference (one foot between each spoke). George Fogle, Mason, Mich., says the wheel is identical to those used by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration during the mid-1930s. "While there may have been several manufacturers, the wheels I am familiar with were produced by Robey Mfg. Co., East Lansing, Mich.," he writes. "I have one that we still use often. The rim is in 10 one-inch segments, and it had a counter actuated by the spokes." Photo submitted by Norman S. Perttunen, Warren, Mich.
Tool "C" Frank Scheibert, Middletown, Ohio, says the two objects were used to move cast iron heating radiators. With one on each side of a radiator, the chain was passed through to secure the radiator. The handles could then lowered to achieve the desired lifting height. Photo submitted by John Schneider, Smithton, Ill.
Tool "D" Wayne Harsch, Waverly, Kan., identifies this as a Plomb Tool Co. weeder dating to the 1920s or 1930s. The handle is made of wood and it has two metal tines for weeding gardens or potted plants. The handle was originally forest green, and the Plomb name should show on one tine. Ken Evans, Pasadena, Calif., said the tool was most commonly used to pull dandelions and other weeds with a central root. "The forked blade is pushed into the ground around the root, and the bulge in the handle becomes a fulcrum as the tool is rocked back to lift the weed out. I used one as a young boy." Photo submitted by Jake Ferrari, Newry, Pa.