| July 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?


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


A. This item was probably hand-made for a specific and unknown purpose. Photo submitted by James Moloney, Palos Hills, Ill.

B. Land anchor used for various purposes, such as guying telephone and other poles, smokestacks, etc., as identified by James H. Allison, Lenoir City, Tenn. "This item is part of an anchoring system developed by the A.B. Chance Co.," he explains. "The other part would be a rod with a pointed ball on one end and an eye for connecting a wire or cable to the other end. You'd dig a posthole, preferably slanted away from the direction of strain. The pointed rod was driven into the hole, angled so it intercepted the posthole at the desired depth, and the keyhole of the anchor was inserted onto the rod and dropped down so the ball on the end of the rod was secure from backing out. Backfill the hole; job completed. Some interesting history about this item can be found by Googling 'A.B. Chance Co.,' 'link Chance anchoring systems,' and 'history of earth anchoring." Photo submitted by Douglas Zuellner, Campbell, Neb. See patent 1,384,825.

C. Tenon cutting tool, providing support for a cutting blade near a work piece. Photo submitted by Jim Pense, West Fork, Ark. See patent 2,848,020.

D. Nose ringing tool, as identified by Leonard Keifer, Gaithersburg, Md. Photo submitted by Harold Jehle, Baldwin, Kan. See patent 339,152.