When Jay “Ike” Hankee found this piece, he was thrilled. He didn’t necessarily know what it was, but he was thrilled nonetheless. “I bought it at an auction,” he says, “and I knew the previous owner. He bought the piece at an earlier auction but didn’t know what it was either.”
Jay’s best guess is the piece is a plow tester used by salesmen for the La Crosse Plow Co. “I think they used it to measure the draft of the plow,” he says. “We tried to do that, but didn’t get it connected just right.”
“La Crosse was a big jobber,” he adds. “They manufactured machinery, buggies and safes beginning in 1835.” A dial on the piece, which Jay estimates to have been manufactured between 1860 and 1880, shows a range of up to 2,000 pounds. It was manufactured by the Chatillon Co., N.Y., and fits in what appears to be a custom-made box, well-worn but still solid, marked with “La Crosse Plow Co.” FC
If you have information on this piece, contact Jay at (608) 634-3825.