January 2022 Mystery Tools

Check out these gadgets, gizmos, and contraptions confounding us from the pioneer inventors.

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by Farm Collector reader

A. Marked Todd’s PA Made in USA No. 1. Measures 12 inches long. Triangle-shaped handles. Jaws measure 1-3/4 in length. Jaws are removable and fit in milled slot.

Answer: Cutting nippers, possibly for use by farriers or in fence construction and repair. Identified by Dean Fuelling, Rapid City, S.D.; Harold Kaufman, Porterfield, Wis.; Eugene Roelofs, Byron Center, Mich.; Richard Lerhr; Ralph Farnsworth, New Haven, Vt.; and Robert Scholz, Elmo, Mo. Photo submitted by
Ron Harts, Stacy, Minn.


person holding a metal tool with a handle and a small cutting wheel

person holding metal tool with cutting wheel leading in to a chamber with a hole in the back

B. Tool measures about 9 inches long.

Answer: Hand-held pinking shears. Identified by Arvid Weflen, Fairbanks, Alaska, and Lynn Osantowski, Clovis, Calif. “We still use some in aircraft fabric covering when cutting small pieces of fabric,” Arvid says. “It increases the edge area so the fabric is less likely to come loose. Pinking shears are also available as straight scissors.” Photo submitted by Richard Burch, Wausau, Wis.


metal tool with handle and two curved arms leading to it with four bolts on the top face

metal tool with curved arms slightly opened with metal handle

metal tool back view of curved arms leading to handle with two bolts on the back face

C. No information provided.

Answer: Improvement in ox-bow pin used to secure the bows of ox yokes, allowing for quick release as needed. Identified by Larry Harpster, Pennsylvania Furnace, Penn.; Donald Rich, Oxford, Conn.; Harold Kaufman; Ram A. Cnaan, Philadelphia, Pa.; Ken Eldred, Beaver Dams, N.Y.; Dwayne Schmoll, Dodge Center, Minn.; Jim Jensen, Canyon City, Ore.; Ralph Farnsworth; and Richard Bader, Middletown, N.Y. Photo submitted by Roland Duffy, Jackson, Wyo.


metal tool with wooden handle with a cylindrical opening at the end

D. Handle with screw measures about 4 inches tall; arm measures about 3-1/2 inches. No markings.

Answer: Carrying handle for a 1918 Browning machine gun. Identified by Willy Steers, Roxbury, Conn., and John A. Smith, Prospect, Conn. Photo submitted by Larry Kohnen, Hitchcock, S.D.


wooden handled metal tool with a spring on the base of the metal and a piece with an opening on the end

E. Tool measures 8-1/2 inches in length (not including wood handle). Opening at end measures 5/16-inch on angle. Marked B just above collar at midpoint.

Answer: No positive identification. Photo submitted by Ed Appel, Galesburg, Ill.


wooden handled tool with metal hooked blade on the end and a metal spring like cone in the middle

F. Tool measures 20 inches long.

Answer: J.I. Case corn picker cutter/scraper/cleaner. Identified by Tim Putt, Greenwich, Conn., and Ray Hoffman, Blanchard, Iowa. “When I was a boy I thought this was a good idea, so I made one myself,” Tim says. “It didn’t work as well. It would dull easily and bend because I didn’t have hardened steel for a blade. This tool was also used to clean manure spreader beaters.” Photo submitted by Daniel Jepson, Miles, Iowa.


To submit photos:

Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to editor@farmcollector.com.

• Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain background. Include dimensions and markings on the piece, and your name, city and state. We cannot guarantee every photo will be published. No photos will be returned.

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

To identify an item:

Send answers (with your name and address) to Farm Collector, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609.

Email responses may be sent to editor@farmcollector.com.

Answers for new items shown in this issue must be received by January 5, 2022.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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