What Is It?

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May Mystery Tool A. What is it?
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May mystery tool C. What is it?
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May mystery tool B. What is it?
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Oil can drainer
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Book binding or copying press
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Still unidentified, from April 2003.
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"Copying Press" from Catalog No. 57, Montgomery Ward & Co., 1895.

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. These three were sent by readers. Do you know what they are?

April’s mystery tools

A. Still unidentified, owned by K.E. Miller of Burnsville, N.C.

B. Book binding or copying press, owned by Ron Swartzendruber of Shickley, Neb. The press was identified by Jim Mau of Mesa, Ariz., who sent in a picture of the tool from an 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. catalog. The press was also identified by Garry J. Wilson of Pilot Point, Texas, and Jack Hunter of Madawaska, Maine.

C. Oil can drainer, which collected the oil left in used cans at filling stations. After the oil was poured into the engine, the emptied can was placed on the rack to collect the remaining oil. It’s owned by Jim Moffet of Modesto, Ill. The oil drainer was identified by Arthur Clarke of Wakefield, R.I., Hez Salsbury of Pueblo, Colo., and also Jack Hunter.

March’s mystery tools

A. Still unidentified, owned by Erwin and Polly Fullerton of Woodstock, Vt.

B. Clapboard maker, identified by Jim Mau of Mesa, Ariz., and Jack Hunter; owned by Warren Fick of Durant, Iowa.

C. Poultry feed mixer, identified by Richard Carroll of Owatonna, Minn; owned by Darell Waite of Blue Rapids, Kan.

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