Farm Collector


The genius of pioneer inventors can confound us. Countless contraptions that revolutionized farming in the 19th and early 20th centuries have become contemporary curiosities, or even mysteries. Here are three sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?

A. B. Wheelwright’s wrench, used to tighten the nut between the spokes on wooden buggy wheels, owned by Jim Lovell of Weatherford, Okla. A number of people identified the wrench, including Glenn Karch of Haubstadt, Ind., Virgil Cassill of Drakesville, Iowa, Steve Mitchell of Elm City, N.C., and O.M. Ramsey of Fort Wayne, Ind. According to an 1888 patent sent by Jim Moffet of Modesto, III., ‘The object of my invention is to provide an improved tool or device for applying and removing tire bolts to or from the wheels of vehicles … to clamp the bolt to hold it from turning and to revolve the nut for the purpose of threading it.’ No one was able to identify B., sent by Jim Moffet, does anyone know anything about it?

C. Sliding door hanger, which slid into a pocket in the wall usually between the parlor and dining room, sent by Stephen Miller of Virginia Beach, Va. According to O.M. Ramsey, the door pocket had a wooden track on each side that a four- or five-inch roller rested on. The rollers were connected to the door hanger (item C), which was connected to the door allowing for ease of movement and storage when not in use.

HOW TO SEND ‘What-is-it?’ photos and/or identifications to Farm Collector: Photos of submitted items should be taken in a well-lighted area against a plain background if possible.

Items may be sent by:

Regular mail: Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609;

E-mail: For digital photos, adjust ‘image size’ to ‘full,’ ‘3:2’ or ‘UXGA.’ Adjust ‘image quality’ to ‘hi’ or ‘fine.’ For scanned photos, use ‘300 dpi’; send ‘jpeg.’

  • Published on Feb 1, 2003
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