Answers to April 2010 Mystery Tools


| June 2010

To view images of all four April 2010 mystery tools and accompanying patent illustrations, click the Image Gallery link to the right. 

A. Fluting machine, as identified by Leonard Keifer, Gaithersburg, Md.; Larry Peterson, Stacy, Minn.; Rudy Miller, Wortham, Texas; Ralph Najarian, Manhattan, Kan.; Wayne Newson, Emyvale, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Gailey Henderson, Williamstown, W.Va.; Coles Roberts, Southampton, N.J.; and George Wanamaker, Macomb, Ill.

The fluting machine was used to put pleats and ruffles in garments such as petticoats, blouses and collars. In use, heated irons were inserted into the hollow rollers. The heat helped “set” the pleat. Ralph Najarian suggested an alternate use. “I myself have no use for pleated garments,” he writes. “However, the device might be of sufficiently heavy construction to be used for juicing such things as rhubarb.” Editor’s note: Be sure to clean all the rhubarb off before you next use the device on petticoats! 

Several readers thought this piece was a stovepipe crimper. However, the soft brass rods on this device would not hold up well in that application and would likely become distorted. Also, the rods are quite a bit longer than the rods in a crimper. For more on stovepipe crimpers, including a patent illustration, see It’s All Trew in this issue. See Patent 169,327 for a similar piece. Photo submitted by David Dietrich, Saginaw, Mich. 

B. A tool to put aluminum armor rod on aluminum power line wire, as identified by David E. Olson, Holdrege, Neb.; Galen Einspahr, North Platte, Neb.; Vernon Emery, Ekalaka, Mont.; Jerry Jacobs, Chisago City, Minn.; and David L. Ferris, Mechanicville, N.Y.

“The tool was used in installing armor rod, a set of straight, smooth aluminum rods that were installed by twisting them around aluminum conductor steel reinforced, centering them over the porcelain or glass insulators on overhead power lines before tying or clamping to the insulator,” says Vernon Emery, a 40-year veteran of rural electric service work. “Armor rods were secured to the conductor by small aluminum U-bolt clamps. Armor rod protected the conductor from chaffing over the insulator and retarded vibration of the conductor. Early armor rod was replaced with alloy preformed armor rods that were ‘rolled’ onto the conductor and required no clips for retention. Labor costs were reduced considerably by using preformed rods. The size and number of armor rods were determined by the size of the conductor being protected. The extra inserts were for different size conductor and were usually marked appropriately. I removed far more of the clip-type rods than I installed!” Photo submitted by Jake Ferrari, Newry, Pa.