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Above: A Maimin cloth cutter with handle intact.
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Right: The handle removed from the Maimin.
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A 1918 magazine ad for the Stewart Handy Worker.
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Patent 1,328,250: Combination tool, patented by Henry B. Keiper, Lancaster, Pa., Jan. 13, 1920.
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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 four sent in by readers. Do you know what
they are?


A. Measures 24 inches by 9 inches; weighs about
2 pounds. Winding ratchet: 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Holding
ratchet: 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Oak spools: 2 inches by 2
inches. Hemp string original length, about 2 feet. Original color
gold, ratchets blue. Top end pointed with hammered head showing it
was hammered into wood to hold apparatus when ratchet was wound to
tighten strings. No markings. Made not to come apart. Original
strings tied tight to spools with a staple on each side of spool so
as to remain fastened to the apparatus.

B. Cast in: Brown & Sharp Mfg. Co.,
Providence, RI USA.

C. Measures 15 inches long, has a 7/8-inch ring
and a 13/16-inch ball. Shaped like a pair of pliers with
spoon-shape handles. Spring-loaded, no markings; cast

D. Approximately 8 inches long, all wood. The
center portion spins on a wood rod with a small wood cap on the

Answers to this month’s items will appear in the August


A. Handle from a Maimin cloth cutter, as
identified by Wayne Reinhardt, Catawba, N.C. “These cloth cutters
are used in the furniture, bedding and apparel industries to cut
fabric, padding, etc., in single or multiple layers,” he says.
Photo submitted by Donald Ahrens, Hartsburg, Ill.

B. Cartridge loading implement, as identified
by Jim Moyer, Ulysses, Kan.; Donald Walker, Buchanan, Va.; Bill
Raymor; Lyndel Biby Enid, Okla.; Doug Schmid, Carrington, N.D.;
Kenny Gearhart Sr., Bellevue, Neb.; Howard Ettleman, Percival,
Iowa; James B. Utgard, Amery, Wis.; Maurice Davis, Binghamton,
N.Y.; Keith Ryder, Wheaton, Ill; Jerry Boyer, Ireton, Iowa; Dale
Schleichardt, Phillips, Neb.; Emil Vahrenberg, Chamois, Mo.; Ken
Kozak, Phillips, Wis.; Gary Yeutter, Cozad, Neb.; James R. Tuning,
Soldotna, Alaska; Terry V. Brown, Independence, Kan.; Tom
Maslowsky; George A. Kruse, Redfield, Kan.; Lawrence Thurston,
Leslie, Ark.; Donald Saevre, Janesville, Wis.; Bernard Geisel,
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Paul A. Fossler, Polo, Ill.; Quentin Hoffman,
Wilmont, Minn.; Louis Harnish, Wayland, Mich.; Carl A. Black,
Sullivan, Mo.; James Blankenship, Tellico Plains, Tenn.; Jim Potee,
Valparaiso, Ind.; Robert Christians, Valley Center, Kan.; Tom
Mariska, Montgomery, Minn.; and Donald Mitchell, Duncannon, Pa.

“This is part of a set of tools to reload shotgun shells,” says
Donald Walker. “This particular tool is used to seat the primer in
the empty shell.” As noted by Lyndel Biby, “In the old days, out on
the prairie, they reloaded their shells since there was no store
close by.” Keith Ryder adds this: “The number 8 means it’s for an
8-gauge shell (a big size that was becoming obsolete and even
illegal in the U.S. by 1900). The ring accepts the rim of the shell
and the little nib presses a primer into place; it is used for
reloading brass or paper shot shells. In antique malls and on eBay
I’ve seen numerous 12-gauge priming tools and a few 10-gauge, but I
think the 8-gauge tools may be uncommon. That tool could have been
used by a market hunter.” Photo submitted by Ernest Nikodim,
Nevada, Mo.

Patent 188,872: Cartridge-loading implement,
patented by James H. Dudley, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., March 27,

C. Combination tool for blacksmiths, as
identified by Philip Sponem, Jefferson, Wis.; Robert R. Wilson,
Evansville, Ind.; Virgil Cassill, Drakesville, Iowa; Leon Rick,
Stone Lake, Wis.; Terry V. Brown; Mark Yoder, Goshen, Ind.; John
Olson, Parsons, Kan.; and Marlin O. Herbst, Merrill, Iowa. The
piece included a rotary blower and forge, drill and grindstone,
anvil, vise, and pipe vise. Photo submitted by Indian Creek
Historical Museum, Hastings, Iowa.

D. A nutcracker made between 1880 and 1930,
identified by Ann S. Rogers, Leesburg, Fla. The “crossover type”
could be used for small or large nuts. Photo submitted by Lloyd
Whitworth, Hillsboro, Ill.

To submit photos:

Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503
S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to:

• Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain
background. Include dimensions and any markings on the
We cannot guarantee every photo will be published,
nor can we respond to inquiries regarding when photos will be
published. No photos will be returned.

• Digital photos should be sent as .jpgs at a minimum of 300

To identify an item:

Send answers (accompanied by your name and
address) to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS
66609. E-mail responses may be sent to

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment