| June 2009

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?


A. Measures 24 inches by 9 inches; weighs about 2 pounds. Winding ratchet: 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Holding ratchet: 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Oak spools: 2 inches by 2 inches. Hemp string original length, about 2 feet. Original color gold, ratchets blue. Top end pointed with hammered head showing it was hammered into wood to hold apparatus when ratchet was wound to tighten strings. No markings. Made not to come apart. Original strings tied tight to spools with a staple on each side of spool so as to remain fastened to the apparatus.

B. Cast in: Brown & Sharp Mfg. Co., Providence, RI USA.

C. Measures 15 inches long, has a 7/8-inch ring and a 13/16-inch ball. Shaped like a pair of pliers with spoon-shape handles. Spring-loaded, no markings; cast construction.

D. Approximately 8 inches long, all wood. The center portion spins on a wood rod with a small wood cap on the end.

Answers to this month's items will appear in the August issue.