July 2021 Mystery Tools

Author Photo
By Staff

Test your knowledge of vintage farm equipment with these six mysterious tools!

David Ruark, Pomeroy, Wash

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. Here are
six sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?


A. One end is male, the other is female, allowing this connection. Overall dimension of each piece is approximately 2 inches by 20 inches in length.

This item has been identified as a connecting apparatus for wooden windmill pump rod.

Identified by Dan Connell, Tryon, Neb.; Dave Blausey, Gibsonburg, Ohio; Joe Barnes, Lexington, Ky.; Dennis Howard, Boyne Falls, Mich.; Craig Young, Orange Grove, Texas; Sam Schoenhals, Ridgecrest, Calif.; Don Schuhmacher, Austin, Texas; Glen Kennell, Finksburg, Md.; Joseph Morine, Erie, Ill.; Maurice Lange, Hallam, Neb.; Wayne Rogers, Corsicana, Texas; Barbara J. Wise, South Dayton, N.Y.; Marlin Herbst, Merrill, Iowa; John Ernst, Iowa City, Iowa; Virgil Cassill, Drakesville, Iowa; Ronald Weers, Diller, Neb.; Jim Klinkerman, LaSalle, Colo.; Gary Willison, Standish, Maine; Joe Stebbins, Miamisburg, Ohio; and Robert Gayler, Boise City, Okla.


photo by: Tracy Fletcher


B. Tool measures 11-1/2 by 3 inches. Marked Priest’s clipper market pattern.

This item was identified as a horse hair clipper.

Identified by Dan Connell; Robert Scholz, Elmo, Mo.; Ray Dias, Manteca, Calif.; Richard Lehr, Delmar, Del.; Joseph Morine; Ken Bolton, Fall Creek, Wis.; Maurice Lange; Duane Spencer, DeFuniak Springs, Fla.; Marlin Herbst; John Ernst; Lyle Olson, Faribault, Minn.; Erwin Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.; Jim Klinkerman; Ron Bush, Bayport, N.Y.; and John S. Rauth, Ridgely, Md.

rope rings

photo by: Andrew Gasbarre, North Royalton, Ohio


C. Found in an old dairy barn in Medina County, Ohio. One piece marked 9L or 76, depending on which way you look at it.

Repurposed rope rings from a Lowden rope hay sling.

Identified by Robert Scholz; Mark Williams, Pandora, Ohio; Joseph Morine; Maurice Lange; Marlin Herbst; Lyle Olson; Rolland F. Thomas, Mondamin, Iowa; Roger F. Larson, Worthington, Minn.; and Virgil Cassill. See Patent No. 444,546.


photo by: Erwin L. Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.



photo by: Erwin L. Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.


D. Piece measures 9 inches in diameter and is attached to the end of an old bench. No legible markings.

No positive identification. Some type of mill.


photo by: Wayne Beckom, Kokomo, Ind.


E. Rope winch, no markings. Measures 12 inches at base; crank measures 7 inches long. Has a catch to hold in place 10 feet of rope on drum. Pulley (3 inches) in line with the grip on the end.

Unidentified. Some kind of stretcher designed for permanent installation.


photo by: Steven Sylvester, Centuria, Wis.


F. Marked Pat. Dec. 8, 1925. J112E. JD.

Unidentified. Virgil Cassill and David Kuipers, Arlington, S.D., believe it to be a cast iron tip from the bucker tooth of an overshot hay stacker. “A chase bucker would gather up hay from a row, push it to the overshot stacker and onto the lowered teeth,” David explains. “The finger that was spring-loaded would push down as the hay passed over it. When you backed out the chase bucker, the finger would pop up and hold the hay on. We had a John Deere stacker in our old machinery row, but the Deere chase bucker was used for many years when we stacked hay with a F10 Farmhand and hay cage.”

To submit photos:
Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to editor@farmcollector.com.

  • Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain background. Include dimensions and markings on the piece, and your name, city and state. We cannot guarantee every photo will be published. No photos will be returned.
  • Digital photos should be sent as .jpegs at a minimum of 300 dpi.

To identify an item: Send answers (with your name and address) to Farm Collector, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Email responses may be sent to editor@farmcollector.com.


Updated on Aug 10, 2021  |  Originally Published on Jul 19, 2021
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