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 six sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?
Answers to the October 2021 items will appear in the December 2021 issue. Answers for new items in this issue must be received by Oct. 4, 2021.
B. Tool’s overall length is about 5 inches. Blade is marked GP-40 and AF. Photo submitted by David Childs, Orange, Vt.
C. Found in an old buggy shed. Measures 8 inches by 8 inches. Photo submitted by Gerald Transtrom, Watford City, N.D.
D. Tool measures 7 inches long.
Cork borer sharpener. Identified by Royce Chambers, Bird City, Kan.; Richard Sunberg, Oxford, Ohio; Mike Intlekofer, Bellevue, Wash.; Gailey Henderson, Williamstown, W. Va.; George R. Totenberry, Clear Brook, Va.; and Randy Winland, Prospect, Ohio. Photo submitted by Erwin Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.
In the era before screw-cap bottles existed, apothecaries, doctors and pharmacists made their own cork stoppers to fit bottles used to hold medicine. Cork cutters were used to sharpen the tools used to cut the cork stoppers. “A cork cutter (also known as a cork borer) is a brass tube with thin walls that has a sharp end,” Mike says. “When spun into a cork, it bores a nice clean hole through the cork. It’s used in laboratories to make holes for glass tubes to pass through the corks. Cork cutters occasionally need sharpening. That’s what the mystery tool is for. The cork cutter is pushed onto the cone of the tool, and spun around while the knife blade is pressed lightly against it, sharpening the cork cutter.” From the December 2021 issue.
E. No description. Photo submitted by Erwin Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.
F. Tool made in Sweden with adjustable end and spring. Royce Chambers, John S. Rauth, Ridgely, Md.; Marlin Herbst, Merrill, Iowa; and Randy Winland believe it to be a saw set. Photo submitted by Melvin L. Blackford, Bartow, Fla.
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To identify an item:
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