Answers to June 2009 Mystery Tools


| August 2009

To view images of all four June 2009 mystery tools and accompanying patent illustrations, click the idividual items below or the Image Gallery link to the right.

A. Farm Collector readers were stumped by this carpet stretcher. Photo submitted by Ronald Bennett, Victor, N.Y. See  patent 1,072,599  for similar piece.

B. We’re all stumped on this item. Photo submitted by Paul A. Moyers Sr., Gatlinburg, Tenn. 

C. Shoe stretcher, as identified by Virgil Cassill, Drakesville, Iowa; Joe Brewer, Rison, Ark.; Ken Martin, Papillion, Neb.; Allen Reiman, Des Moines, Iowa; Dale Marshall, Holt, Mich.; Frank Tolford, Evanston, Ill.; Gary Webster, New Port Richey, Fla.; Al Schochenmaier, Glencoe, Minn.; Alfred Dobberfuhl, Mequon, Wis.; Brian Polson, Marysville, Kan.; Maurice Metzger, Apache Junction, Ariz.; Lyndel Biby, Enid, Okla.; Louis Bentzinger, Cook, Neb.; Jim Potee, Valparaiso, Ind.; Bruce Morgan, Vass, N.C.; Craig Ricksgers, Linden, Mich.; Robert Christison, Chillicothe, Mo.; Clarence Gibbs, Inman, S.C.; Gailey Henderson, Williamstown, W.Va.; Herb Olney, Zeeland, Mich.; Erwin Fullerton, South Woodstock, Vt.; Robert Holfinger, Covington, Ohio; Gerald Gengler, Le Mars, Iowa; Pete Peterson, Spencer, Iowa; Donald Reddick, Madison, Conn.; Mike Intlekofer, Bellevue, Wash.; Kirk Unzelman, Bellevue, Wash.; John Miltenberger, Nazareth, Pa.; and Onie Sims, Whitter, Calif. Photo submitted by Chris Phipps, Bealeton, Va. See  patent 591,492 .

"One of my jobs while attending college in the early 1970s was in a shoe store with a repair shop," recalls Al Schochenmaier. "We used this tool to soften the leather on a new shoe for a person with corns or bunions. We’d spray a liquid softener on the leather to gradually stretch that portion of the shoe that was causing irritation to the foot. It was effective; sometimes a customer would come back for a little more stretch. It was a concern of mine that I could apply too much pressure and crack or break the leather on the outside of shoe. That never happened to me."

D. Chalk line spool, as identified by Craig Ricksgers. Photo submitted by Sarah L. Welch, Burnt Hills, N.Y., for the Saratoga (N.Y.) County Fair. 

To submit photos:
Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to:

  • Photos should be taken in a well-lit area against a plain background. Include dimensions and any markings on the piece. We cannot guarantee every photo will be published, nor can we respond to inquiries regarding when photos will be published. No photos will be returned.
  • Digital photos should be sent as .jpgs at a minimum of 300 dpi.

To identify an item:
Send answers (accompanied by your name and address) to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send e-mail responses to