WHAT-IS-IT?


| October 2002



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Mystery tools

The genius of pioneer inventors can con-found us. Countless contraptions that revolutionized farming in the 19th and early 20th centuries have become contemporary curiosities, or even mysteries. Here are three sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?

September's mystery tools

A.  & C. Sausage grinder, owned by Kenneth Niehues of San Angelo, Texas, and a woodworking scraper, possibly a 'scorp,' owned by brothers Steve and Jon Crosby. Edward and Donna Lucas of Rockingham, Vt., identified the sausage grinder, which may have been made by the Ames Plow Co. A 5/8-inch exit hole for the ground sausage is on the bottom side; the auger portion lifts out for cleaning. No one positively ID'd the scraper, but it may have been used for such things as seats or bowls.

 B.  Box closing tool, sent by Gene Lehmann of Park Rapids, Minn. This tool was used to close fruit and vegetable crates manually; it grabbed a wire that was attached to the box lid and looped it through another wire, securing the lid. Because fruits and vegetables settle during transit, the boxes are loaded very full. According to the 1938 patent, great difficulty was encountered in closing the lids; this tool reduced the time and labor required, and made a uniformly tight closure.