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 four sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?
Mystery solved! Check your answers to the old tools presented in the September 2010 issue.
A. Ecraseur, a veterinary surgical tool used to remove ovaries in large animals; sometimes used to castrate horses or bulls. Identified by J.E. Benson, Galesburg, Ill.; P.T. Rathbone, Marsing, Idaho; Stephen Clemens, Mazeppa, Minn.; Buck and Cathy Evans, Ft. Lupton, Colo.; Jim Glascock, Cedar Grove, Ind.; and Joseph Helms, Edwardsville, Ill.
Dr. John S. Townsend IV, Garland, Texas, takes a slightly different tack, suggesting that the piece is a tonsil snare used in performing tonsillectomies in the early years of the last century. It could be a veterinary surgical tool, he notes, “but I think the size and construction makes it far more likely that this is indeed a tonsil snare.”Photo submitted by Stan Koehn, Wichita, Kan.
B. Tire tool used to remove and replace tires. Photo submitted by Dean Klegstad, Middle River, Minn.
C.Vulcanizing tool. Identified by Fred Courser, Concord, N.H., and Ronald Young, Madison, Ind. Photo submitted by Elias Nyberg, Stow, Mass.
D. Cow poke. “My grandfather called this a ‘yoke,’” explains Steven R. Bertrand, Lake Dallas, Texas. “More than one of his cows wore one of these contraptions around their necks to keep them from pushing too far through strands of barbed wire fences. It made for good neighbors by keeping his cows in his pastures instead of the neighbors’ pastures. The bent points at the extreme ends of the yoke faced forward on the animal and helped ensure individual wires wouldn’t slip past the end of the yoke as the cow pushed into the span of fence. The points closer to the neckband pushed back against the cow’s neck and shoulders to discourage her from pushing too hard against the fence. As long as she stayed away from the fence she didn’t have to worry about the points digging into her hide. I guess it worked pretty well because I don’t ever remember having to go chase one of those cows back into our property!”
From a note from John Townsend: “Some cattle that my grandfather said ‘could go through a stovepipe’ learned to turn their heads sideways and work the yoke between the fencewires.”
Also identified by Mike Deplazes, Crary, N.D.; Rudy Miller, Wortham, Texas; Ray Archibald, Leavenworth, Ind.; Ray Kaufman, Sigel, Ill.; Robert Winzer, Atchison, Kan.; Loren W. Sievert, Glencoe, Minn.; Jason Stodola, Clarkson, Neb.; Lyle Olson, Fairbault, Minn.; Marvin Roach, Mulberry, Ill.; Ronald Schilmoeller, Remsen, Iowa; Donald D. Sarchet, Tulia, Texas; Darrell Combs (who also cited patent 1,228,913 for a similar piece), Citrus Heights, Calif.; Bill Calderwood, Sterling, Kan.; Dusty Sawyer, Springtown, Texas; Alvin Kaspar, Crete, Neb.; Ken Hunter, Allerton, Ill.; Larry Beam, Topeka, Kan.; Stephen Clemens; Fred Courser; Richard Hennis, Lewisville, Minn.; Donald W. Walker, Buchanan, Va.; Sol Evans, Yates Center, Kan.; L.C. Fornes, Kathryn, N.D.; Corwin Tubbs, Applegate, Mich.; Daniel Healy, Calimesa, Calif.; Louis Harnish, Wayland, Mich.; J.W. Durham, Bluffton, Ga.; Mark Pritchard, Spalding, Neb.; Ralph Rader, Kansas City, Kan.; Bob Sterneker, Cunningham, Kan.; Robert Trunk, Princeton, Minn.; Buck and Cathy Evans; Jim Glascock; Ronald Young; Joseph Helms; Bob Wittersheim, Carleton, Mich.; Don Nelson, Arvada, Colo.; Gary Vollman, Willamina, Ore.; John S. Townsend IV; Leroy Toth, Elk River, Minn.; Garry Vanderweert, Geneseo, N.Y.; Sheldon Malmedel; Gene Haley, Wales, Mich.; Dale L. Leighow, Catawissa, Pa.; Ralph Roming, Roaring Springs, Texas; S.T. Langdon, Batavia, N.Y.; Fred Rhinehart, Piedmont, Ala.; Erwin Fullerton, S. Woodstock, Vt.; Ken Zentner, Falls City, Neb.; Jack McCall, Greenville, S.C. Photo submitted by John Crofoot, New Era, Mich.
Get ‘em all & win! We’ll send a free copy of our new special collector’s edition – Field Guide to Mystery Farm Tools – to anyone who correctly identifies all four “What Is It?” items from the December issue. Send those answers in today!
To submit photos:
Send prints to Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Send digital images to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 email@example.com.