Farm Collector

Answers to August 2009 Mystery Tools

To view images of all four August 2009 mystery tools and accompanying patent illustrations, click the idividual items below or the Image Gallery link to the right.

A. Dough-forming machine, as identified by George Wanamaker, Macomb, Ill., who came closest in calling the piece a pasta or noodle cutter. The device’s primary purpose was to cut strips of dough into blocks, and for pressing the blocks into thin sheets and rolling the sheets spirally. Photo submitted by Frank Brcka, Plymouth, Iowa. See patent 1,424,806 for a similar piece.

B. Harrow-disc sharpener, as identified by Virgil Cassill, Drakesville, Iowa; Stephen Clemens, Mazeppa, Minn.; Jake Ferrari, Newry, Pa.; and Verl Cutler, Claremont, S.D. Photo submitted by Gordon Harris, Pickett, Wis. See patent 552,999 for a similar piece.

C. Tool used to remove and replace sections on a sickle bar. It also has a saddle to place a guard when removing and replacing ledger plates. On the left end, the three slots could be used to remove and replace drive chain links.

“It’s a combination steel chain detacher (left end) and a riveting anvil for a sickle bar mower and/or binder,” says Robert Oldenkamp, Hawarden, Iowa. “This anvil could be used to drive out the old rivets from the sickle, and put in a new section and rivet it in place without removing the sickle from the machine.”

Identified by Robert Radtke, Clintonville, Wis.; Gary Wettschreck, Stacy, Minn.; Buck Evans, Ft. Lupton, Colo.; David Chambers, Lincoln, Neb.; Marlin Herbst, Merrill, Iowa; Howard Rowe, Scranton, Kan.; Raymond Garbee, Billings, Mo. (who notes that “at best, the device was a finger smacker”); Ken Zentner, Falls City, Neb.; A.R. Thorson, Corvallis, Mont.; D. Gatzemeyer, Lincoln, Neb.; Loren Diede, Navajo Dam, N.M.; Richard Fairgrieves, Belvidere, Ill.; Virgil Cassill; Dennis L. Cederquist, Montague, Mich.; Steve Lott, Minneapolis, Kan.; Don Ammons, Hoxie, Kan.; Glenn Wren, Kansas City, Mo.; P.T. Rathbone, Marsing, Idaho; Stephen Clemens; Lyle Olson, Faribault, Minn.; Kevin Ball via email ; Dale Marshall, Holt, Mich.; George Wanamaker, Macomb, Ill.; Dale H. Brumm, Sioux City, Iowa; Richard Johnson, Johnstown, Ohio; Dennis Hensley, Bennington, Kan.; Walter Wilkens, Albert City, Iowa; Alan Duffield, Browns Valley, Minn.; Harold Jehle, Baldwin City, Kan.; William J. Hildebeitel, Kempton, Pa.; Jerry Taube, Cannon Falls, Minn.; Jake Ferrari; C. Keith Kerr, Postville, Iowa; Robert Christians, Valley Center, Kan.; Galynn Ferris, Spring, Texas; Kenneth Messick, Williamsburg, Kan.; Willard Ottman, Lemmon, S.D.; Jack P. Reece, Ledyard, Iowa; Robert Thomas, Marion, S.D.; Ken Waits, Rushville, Ind.; Verl Cutler; Tom Janecke, Lake George, Mich.; Joel Croxton, LaPrairie, Ill.; Frank Kadinger, Colorado Springs, Colo.; James W. Stavros, Parshall, N.D.; Ed Oswald, Marysville, Kan.; Joel Blasius, Tea, S.D.; Terry M. Brown, Beach, N.D.; Lawrence D. Steele, Toledo, Ill.; James F. Bowdle, Columbus, Ohio; Joe Bronec, Canby, Ore.; George Kruse, Redfield, Kan.; Robert Holfinger, Covinton, Ohio; and John Biehl, Bridgewater, S.D. Photo submitted by Bud Lochen, Wausau, Wis.

D. Combination pliers for twisting wire. “I grew up on a farm and have been an aircraft mechanic since 1984,” says Tom Nelson, Baudette, Minn. “We use these tools to safely secure nuts and bolts on aircraft and aircraft engines, propellers, etc. I think they might also be used by racecar mechanics. They are very useful for locking fasteners in areas where a loose nut or bolt could be very dangerous. The wire used is usually made of stainless steel and comes in various diameters. The pliers can be purchased to twist either clockwise or counter-clockwise.”

Also identified by Phil Ruzicka, Kaufman, Texas; Joe Hall, Midlothian, Texas; Buck Evans; Joe Cramer, Burlington, Wis.; A.R. Thorson; Steven Thomas, Richmond, Ind.; D. Gatzemeyer; Bruce Mitchell, Kansas City, Mo.; Larry Bessette, Valley City, N.D.; Ed DeKeyser, Neenah, Wis.; Jon Miller, Maple Lake, Minn.; Doug Angilly, Enfield, Ct.; John Eaheart, Plano, Texas; Joe Arbogast, Maple Park, Ill.; Bruce Siedentopf, Dighton, Mass.; Steve Lott; David Hobza, Edmond, Okla.; Don Ammons; Larry Weathers, Great Bend, Kan.; Gary Niva, Monte Sereno, Calif; Scott Kaminsky, Elmira, N.Y.; Garry Boldenow, Salina, Kan.; Dale Marshall; Charles Plett, Antioch, Ill.; David E. Long, Keyser, W.Va.; John Eastwood, Las Vegas, Nev.; Harold Jehle; Aron E. Griffin, Shirley, Mass.; J.W. Freck, Karnack, Texas; Ed Oswald; Joel Blasius; Roy Staton, Pleasanton, Kan.; Joe Cook, Wantage, N.J.; Ryan Stacy, Muscatine, Iowa; George Kruse; Robert Holfinger; James Warner, Newark, Ohio; and Gerald Gengler, Le Mars, Iowa. Photo submitted by Bob Fortner, Louisburg, Mo. See patent 2,394,807 for a similar piece.

Remember this?

From the June 2009 issue of Farm Collector. No one knew what this item was – until we heard from Steve Lott, Minneapolis, Kan., who sent along an illustration of a precision yarn winder from the 1913 Brown & Sharpe catalog.

From Pat Huebsch, Mitchell, Iowa: “This reel is used in the textile industry to measure yarn. The size of the yarn is determined by its weight, which is measured in grains per 120 yards. One ounce equals 437.5 grains; this tool will measure out 120 yards of yarn.

“A cone of yarn is placed on the vertical rods on the left, threaded through the guide above it and tied to the bar with the eyelets. Turning the crank in the center of the big wheel, the proper number of turns, will measure 120 yards of yarn, indicated on the gear by the bell. The ends of the big wheel are 9 inches on center and there are six of them which gives you 1-1/2 yards.

“The big wheel and the center crank have a 2-to-1 ratio with each other, so one turn of the crank equals 3 yards and 40 turns of the crank will give you the required 120 yards. This speeds up the measuring process because it can be done in less than one minute. The yarn is then placed on a scale that measures in grains to determine its size. We have one of these in the hosiery factory where I work and it is still used every day.”

To submit photos:
Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to:

  • Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain background. Include dimensions and any markings on the piece. We cannot guarantee every photo will be published, nor can we respond to inquiries regarding when photos will be published. No photos will be returned.
  • Digital photos should be sent as .jpgs at a minimum of 300 dpi.

To identify an item:
Send answers (accompanied by your name and address) to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send e-mail responses to

  • Published on Sep 22, 2009
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