Mystery Solved: November 2015 Mystery Tool Answers


| 12/31/2015 2:30:00 PM


November 2015 Mystery Tool A

November 2015 Mystery Tool A

We have received many responses on this piece, each offering personal experience in using it in many different applications. We cannot offer a single definitive answer to its use, and we cannot refute personal experience, so we are including all responses identifying a tool with apparently limitless versatility. Original photo submitted by Nancy Peterson via email.

Anvil punch. Identified by Tim Scott, Charleston, Arkansas; Louie Frantz, Hallam, Pennsylvania; Randall Marquis, Tacoma, Washington; and Bill Bracy, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “Using this tool, you could punch holes without losing any metal, unlike drilling,” Louie says. “There were no chips; it just expanded the metal. It was important that the metal be red-hot! The blacksmith would have a helper striking the hammer while he held the punch end of the hammer where he wanted the hole. The only metal lost was a thin slug out of the bottom of the hole. They were made in many configurations. The blacksmith often made this tool himself.”

Railroad spike maul used to drive spikes into ties. Identified by Gary Studebaker, Leonard Keifer, Gaithersburg, Maryland; BZ Cashman, Blue Ridge, Georgia; David Friedly, Blairsville, Georgia; William Evans, St. Joseph, Missouri; Joseph Bruggeman, Taberg, New York; Sam Schoenhals, Ridgecrest, California; Stanley Deisemann, Shartlesville, Pennsylvania; and Richard Bader, Middletown, New York.

Railroad track punch. Identified by Dave Uthe, Boone, Iowa; Harry Stubs, Paola, Kansas; and Ira Mundell, Pleasanton, Kansas.



Pin driver. Identified by Dave Butler, Poteau, Oklahoma; Skip Weed, Schuylerville, New York; and Daniel W. Lang, Gatesville, North Carolina. “It is supposed to have a hammer handle in the hole,” Skip says. “It can also be used as a small sledge hammer. You hold the small end against the pin and have someone hit the big end with a sledgehammer. The handle is probably gone because someone missed with the sledgehammer and hit the handle. Very handy for bucket pins on a loader.”



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