Mystery Solved: November 2015 Mystery Tool Answers

Reader Contribution by The Farm Collector Staff
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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.”

Breaking out tool. Identified by David W. Nelson, a retired iron worker from McFarland, Wisconsin. “In a riveting gang, if you drove a rivet that was colder than it should have been, it wore loose,” he says. “The driver (or bucker) would shear the head off. Then, take the breaking out tool and, using an air hammer, back the rivet out.”

November 2015 Mystery Tool B

Part of a butter churn. Identified by Thomas D. Hauk, Kingsport, Tennessee; George Wanamaker, Macomb, Illinois; Gary Studebaker, Larwill, Indiana; Jo Gwinn, Helena, Oklahoma; Tom Trantham, Lexington, North Carolina; Wendell H. Starkebaum, Higginsville, Missouri; Leonard Keifer; Howard Dils, Canandaigua, New York; William Evans; Charles Asmussen; Marlin O. Herbst, Merrill, Iowa; Bill Bracy; Dave and Sharon Suder, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Richard Bader. Photo submitted by Carol Baker, Elm Mott, Texas.

November 2015 Mystery Tool C

Possibly a bog/marsh/snow shoe for a horse, but no positive identification possible. Photo submitted by Randy Rich.

November 2015 Mystery Tool D

Hose reel. Identified by Clarence A. Buck, El Paso, Illinois; Harry Stubbs; George Wanamaker; Gary Studebaker; Randall Marquis; Joe Rother, Farmington, Minnesota; Wendell H. Starkebaum; Leonard Keifer; Gene Hoenig, Gainesville, Texas; Joseph Bruggeman; and Bill Bracy. Photo submitted by Harry Bennett, Jacksonville, Florida.

November 2015 Mystery Tool E

A clip to hold ice coupons. Ice was delivered to homes as late as the 1950s in some areas. The customer placed prepaid coupons on the clip; the deliveryman collected them while delivering ice. Identified by George Wanamaker and Charles Asmussen. Photo submitted by Clarence Gibbs, Inman, South Carolina.

November 2015 Mystery Tool F

Paving tool likely used to pack soil before pouring concrete. Identified by James Moloney, Palos Hills, Illinois; George Wanamaker; Rex Miller, Smithville, Ohio; Randall Marquis; Wendell H. Starkebaum; Marlin O. Herbst; and Leonard Keifer. Photo submitted by Gary Studebaker, Larwill, Indiana.

Remember This?

November 2013 Item B:Patent no. 538,910: Sash Weight. Patent awarded to Jacob Haish, DeKalb, Ill., May 7, 1895.

April 2015 Item B: Tom Ingling, Philadelphia, has identified Item B from November 2013 as a window sash weight. See patent no. 538,910. And he believes Item B, April 2015, to be a light-duty screw jack.

September 2015 Item A: Doug Thompson, West Avon, Connecticut, believes Item A, September 2015, to be a pedal used by a cook with her hands full to open the oven door on an early kitchen range.

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