December 2015 Mystery Tool A
Lawn weed remover. To operate, push the chisel-like blade under the weed, squeeze the lever down to the wood handle, which will arch over to hold the plant to the blade for removal from the ground. Guide this end to a bucket, release the handle and the weed falls into the bucket. Identified by Gary Studebaker, Larwill, Indiana; Ralph Farnsworth, New Haven, Vermont; Dick Kates, Oakland, Iowa; Erwin Fullerton, Woodstock, Vermont; and Clyde Eide, Bryan, Texas. Photo submitted by Frank Kuehl, Neenah, Wisconsin. See patent no. 917,802.
Patent no. 917,802: Dandelion digger. Patent awarded to Burton Schneider, Minneapolis, Minn., April 13, 1909.
December 2015 Mystery Tool B
Wire tightener/slack taker. Used to remove slack from a smooth wire or barbed wire fence. To operate, walk the fence line quickly, removing slack and shortening the wire. Identified by Albert Stier, Petersburg, Illinois; Mark Tripson, Vero Beach, Florida; Hamilton J. Hayes, Manchester Center, Vermont; David Nash, Ionia, Michigan; Thomas Graves, Muncie, Indiana; Bob Wittersheim, Saline, Michigan; Gary Studebaker; Don Wood, Danville, California; and Maurice Glick, Hartsville, Indiana. Photo submitted by Ellis Hayes, Sulphur Rock, Arkansas. See patent no. 2,087,125.
Patent no. 2,087,125: Wire tightener. Patent awarded to Henry G. Smith, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Clyde B. Macdonald, Akron, Ohio, July 13, 1937.
December 2015 Mystery Tool C
Mold-clamping device used with concrete molds in which tie rods with adjustable collars are used to hold the clamping bars tight against the mold. Identified by Ben Muggli, Miles City, Montana; Harold Lakoduk, Ramsey, Minnesota. Photo submitted by John Haynes, Brownsville, Kentucky. See patent no. 1,109,295.
Patent no. 1,109,295: Mold clamping device. Patent awarded to Henry H. Lampert, Kansas City, Mo., assignor of one-half to Arthur L. Richtmyre, Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 1, 1914.
December 2015 Mystery Tool D
Unidentified. Photo submitted by James Resmen, Brandt, South Dakota.
December 2015 Mystery Tool E
Combination tool. Identified by Dick Kates; Harold Lakoduk and Gary Studebaker. Photo submitted by Don Fritz, Britt, Iowa. See patent no. 674,735.
The original photo of this tool shows an incomplete piece. These photos show the complete tool.
Patent no. 674,735: Combination tool. Patent awarded to Samuel J. Johnston, Leesburg, Va., May 21, 1901.
December 2015 Mystery Tool F
Confection baking apparatus used to bake ice cream cones. Photo submitted by Richard Bader, Middletown, New York. See patent no. 845,557.
Patent no. 845,557: Confection baking apparatus. Patent awarded to Edward H. Lanier and Frank K. Driesbach, Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 26, 1907.
October Item F: “This is used to break the bead of a tire a away from the rim,” explains Roger Schmidt, Winfield, Kansas. “It fits tires 19 to 15 inches in diameter. Ours has been modified to fit 14-inch wheels also. Place it across the rims, place your foot on the end opposite the two handles. Then push the two levers between the tire and rim. Pull the ‘breaking’ lever back and push the bead of the tire away from the rim. You will have to do this about every 2 to 3 inches about one-quarter to one-third of the way around to get the tire to drop into the center. You can then take your tire spoons and remove the tire. My father bought this one new from Montgomery Ward & Co. in 1947. It has been used to fix thousands of flat tires on this farm. And yes, I still use it.”
Allan Kinter, Indiana, Pennsylvania; Orville Blaylock, Moro, Oregon; Don Haase, Blue Earth, Minnesota; and Dennis McGrew, Lawrence, Michigan, also chimed in on this bead-breaker. “As a young teen in the 1950s,” Dennis recalls, “I was already acutely aware of how frugal my dad was. We had over 150 mounted tires on hay wagons and other implements and Dad got all of his replacement tires from the salvage yard! I learned early on how to dismount blown-out tires and replace with others often not much better. That old bead-breaker, a heavy hammer and a couple specially designed pry bars was all it took.”