January 2017 Mystery Tool A
Possibly a homemade device used to press fruit for juice. May also have been used to press cut fruit, like apples, for cider making, or to remove whey during cheese production. Could date to the mid-1800s. Identified by Bill Klenke, Larwill, Ind.; Paul Ryberg, Cambridge, Minn.; and Richard Bader, Middletown, N.Y. Photo submitted by Mary Anderson via email.
January 2017 Mystery Tool B
Hand-carved wooden shovels like this were used in many applications. Two of the most common were cheese-making (to stir the curd or remove it from tanks) and production of gunpowder (wooden shovels were spark-free). This one appears to be about the correct size for cheese-making. Identified by Ken Bolton, Fall Creek, Wis.; Lynn Taylor, Tecumseh, Mo.; David W. Nelson, McFarland, Wis.; Bill Klenke; and Merle Cochran, Nekoosa, Wis. Photo submitted by David Ruark, Pomeroy, Wash.
January 2017 Mystery Tool C
Unidentified. Photo submitted by Heather Curtin via email.
January 2017 Mystery Tool D
Motorized control for draft dampers on a hand-fired coal furnace. Identified by Richard Willems, New Windsor, Ill.; Jim Cornell, Bedford, Pa.; Larry Harpster, Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.; Skip Weed, Schuylerville, N.Y.; Bill Klenke; Vern Notestine, Frankenmuth, Mich.; Merle Cochran; and Gary Campbell, Troy, Ohio. “The device was powered by 120-volt house power and controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat to regulate the temperature in a house,” says Richard Willems. “A small chain looped around the gear or sprocket that was routed through pulleys to the dampers on the stove pipe and under the fire box.” Photo submitted by Charles P. Miller, Boonsboro, Md.
January 2017 Mystery Tool E
Unidentified. Photo submitted by Donald E. McBride, Bedford, Ind.
January 2017 Mystery Tool F
Five-hole hydrant wrench. Identified by Randall Baron, Issaquah, Wash.; Nick Cerbo, Parsippany, N.J.; Sam Schoenhals, Ridgecrest, Calif.; John S. Rauth, Ridgely, Md.; and Gary Cooper, Oak Harbor, Wash. “This a fire hydrant wrench used for turning on and off the main supply valve,” says Randall Baron. “It is interesting to note that the firefighting industry standardized
the five-point head on the valve body, but didn’t standardize the size, thereby creating a need for the range of pentagon sizes for a ‘fits all’ wrench. The wrench is made of bronze so that in an explosive atmosphere (such as a gas leak), it will be non-sparking.” Photo submitted by Erwin L. Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.