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.
Answers to January Mystery Tools
A. No positive identification but this piece was probably used to handle small bags, crates or boxes. Identified by G.A. Henderson, Williamstown, W. Va. (who cited page 240 in Dictionary of American Hand Tools); Fred W. Courser III, Concord, N.H. Photo submitted by Jim Boblenz, Marion, Ohio.
B. Device for grinding mower knives. Identified by Robert Scholz, Elmo, Mo.; William Reedy, Brandon, Iowa; Marshall Futhey, Rose Hill, Kan.; Alan Duffield, Browns Valley, Minn.; Harvey Dale, Lewiston, Idaho; and Fred W. Courser III. Photo submitted by Vernon Betz, Golden, Colo.
See patent 359,964.
C. No positive identification on this item but a host of intriguing possibilities. Several readers pegged it as a box to hold wood chips in a barbecue. Others, though, recalled such boxes being used to hold hot briquets when warming engines in cold weather, to warm passengers in horse-drawn wagons and sleighs, or even for use near the bed on cold winter nights. Identified by Larry Peterson, Stacy, Minn.; Roger E. Larsen, Dalbo, Minn.; Noel Allard, Menahga, Minn.; Joseph W. Cramer, Burlington, Wis.; Dudley Newton, El Dorado, Calif.; James Nodsle, Sabin, Minn.; and Robert Scholz. Photo submitted by Raymond Fenley, Copper Canyon, Texas.
D. Drive unit to pull false front end gates to silage wagons to the barn/ratchet jack for unloading material from old-style chopper wagons or boxes that were not self-unloading. Identified by John Harvey, Lawton, Iowa; Don Ede, Maynard, Iowa; Rob Deisemann, Strausstown, Pa.; Darold Krenz, Bemidji, Minn.; Gene E. Jerovitz, Kewaunee, Wis.; Homer L. Warner, Voorheesville, N.Y.; Darrell Langer, Marshall, Wis.; Dave Zylstra, Maple Lake, Minn.; Raymond Collins, Palm Bay, Fla.; Bill Rust, Gorham, Maine; Tom Larson, Charlotte, Vt.; Frank Baranoski, S. Deerfield, Mass.; Edward L. Drosehn, Peru, Mass.; W. Riley Hemingway, Freeville, N.Y.; John Neuser, Reedsville, Wis.; Ralph Farnsworth, New Haven, Vt.; Albert Mosher, Gorham, Maine; Larry Harpster, Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.; Gordon Wolfel, San Antonio, N.M.; Glen Phillips, Freedom, N.Y.; Fred Miller, Arpin, Wis.; David C. Halstead, Cuba, N.Y.; Bernie Fenske, St. Charles, Minn.; Russell W. Crane, S. Woodstock, Vt.; Von Potts, Houston, Mo.; David G. Allen, Somers, Mt.; Diane and Roger Goodger, Milton, Wis.; Leander Wetter, Buffalo, Minn.; Bernard Geisel, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Alan Duffield; Harvey Dale; William Reedy; Fred W. Courser III. Photo submitted by James Hutchcraft, Columbiaville, Mich. FC