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 three sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?
Update: Plenty of people finally figured out item B in November 2003's 'What-is-it?' column after the answer deadline. Turns out it's a potato planter pick. Readers to identify the potato planter pick are Donald Chapman, Champlin, Minn.; Donno VanDake, Curtiss, Wis.; Jerry Kienlen, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Vincent Artz, Manawa, Wis.; Jeffery Frankiewicz, Eastford, Conn., and Dale and Mary Weber of Harrison, Ohio. According to Chapman, 'There were three or four of these gadgets in the bottom of the planter that rotated on a wheel. It went through the seed potatoes that were dumped in the planter box.'
HOW TO SEND 'What-is-it?' photos and/or identifications to Farm Collector: Photos of submitted items should be taken in a well-lighted area against a plain background if possible and received by Farm Collector by the 22nd of each month. Items may be sent by:
Regular mail: Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609;
For digital photos, adjust 'image size' to 'full,' '3:2' or 'UXGA.' Adjust 'image quality' to 'hi' or 'fine.' For scanned photos, use '300 dpi'; send 'jpeg.'