September 2015 Mystery Tool A
Unidentified. Photos submitted by Steve Renz, Superior, Nebraska.
September 2015 Mystery Tool B
Unidentified. Photos submitted by Stan Seevers, Argenta, Illinois.
September 2015 Mystery Tool C
Handle for lifting or carrying boxes or barrels. Identified by David Friedly, Blairsville, Georgia. See patent 218,865. Photo submitted by Stan Seevers, Argenta, Illinois.
Patent no. 218,865: Handle for lifting or carrying boxes or barrels. Patent granted to Matthew J. Eagan, Greenbush, New York, assignor of one-half of his right to Evens Backus, Nassau, New York, Aug. 26, 1879.
September 2015 Mystery Tool D
Sawtooth fireplace trammel used in very large fireplaces to keep cooking vessel in the proper heat zone while cooking or warming food; easily adjusted up or down. Identified by Gary Studebaker, Larwill, Indiana, and John Wilding, Hermann, Missouri. “In early fireplaces, a pole extended through the chimney base and the large ring was slipped on the pole,” John says. “The saw teeth allowed the cook to adjust the height of the pot or kettle above the fire. As is shown here, these are usually very ornate. Some people think this is an ice saw. One is actually ‘U’ shaped. As the meat is grilled, fat collects on the ‘U’ shaped bars and is channeled to the large outside ring, where it is collected, which keeps the fire from flaring up.” Photo submitted by J.F. Welschmeyer, Dixon, Missouri.
September 2015 Mystery Tool E
Handled broiler. Identified by John Knapp, Lakeville, Pennsylvania. From John Knapp, who collects them: “These were made of cast iron to cook meat or anything else over an open fire. Most were unmarked and made in a variety of sizes. The size would be marked on the top of the handle.” Photo submitted by Paul Luckman, Walwort, New York.
The Morgan broiler, similar to the partial unit shown above.
September 2015 Mystery Tool F
Bark spud, used like a long-handled chisel to remove bark from logs. Also known as a peeling iron. Identified by Bob Wittersheim, Saline, Michigan; Dennis L. Cedarquist, Montague, Michigan; Edward Hughes, Trout Run, Pennsylvania; William Coyle Sr., Genesee, Pennsylvania; Lew Payne, Remsen, New York; Stephen Shursky, Liberty, New York; John Carmichael; John S. Rauth, Ridgely, Maryland; Timothy Potaczek, Cornell, Wisconsin; Raymond J. Bloom, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Bruce E. Ziegler, Tidioute, Pennsylvania; Spencer Greenhill, Luther, Michigan; Jim Allen, Hackettstown, New Jersey; Gary Studebaker; Carman Fedele, Tidioute, Pennsylvania; and Jerry Friesner, Cullowhee, North Carolina.
“This would have been fitted to a wood handle about 3 feet long,” says Jerry Friesner. “As a transplant from a Missouri farm to the North Carolina mountains over 50 years ago, I learned about the harvesting of ‘tan bark’ back in the day here. The choice bark was chestnut and that continued for a time after the infamous blight killed those trees. That bark contained tannic acid, which was used in tanning leather. Oak trees provided the chemical as well, but perhaps not as readily as the chestnut. Even after the trees died, dead chestnut trunks were sought for their bark and ‘wormy chestnut’ lumber as well. Downed tree trunks were stripped of their bark using this tool. The bark spud was used to pry away the bark from the trunk. Virtually all of the dead chestnut ‘sogs,’ as loggers called the drowned, dead trunks, are now gone. Any harvesting of bark for tannic acid now would come from varieties of oak.” Photo submitted by George Fogle, Mason, Michigan.
Melroy Wiskow, Greenbush, Minnesota, believes Item A in the May 2015 issue of Farm Collector to be a jack that rode on the front axle of a wooden threshing machine. It was used to keep the machine level during use or in storage. It would be laid down on the axle during transport.