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Wanted: gadgets, gizmos & contraptions.

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 The arm at left is 10 inches long. The arm at right (with the loop at one end) is 11 inches long, and the connecting piece is 4-1/2 inches.


B Item has a small tag reading "PA1 1269." Total length, 4-1/2 inches with a 1/4-inch hole at the middle. Tapered metal ends; metal clasp with a spring-released latch.


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



A. Wrench made by the New Idea Co., Coldwater, Ohio, for use on the New Idea manure spreader. Identified by Richard J. Blough, Bristol, Ind.; P.T. Rathbone, Marsing, Idaho; Michael Bleisch, Charlotte, Mich.; Emil Vahrenberg, Chamois, Mo.; Jim Bolt, Corsica, S.D.; Steve Sylvester, Centuria, Wis.; Laroy C. Burgess, Dunkirk, N.Y.; and Everett Hanson, Fairfax, Minn. Photo submitted by Frank Kuehl, Neenah, Wis.


B. Tool used to cut roof rafters, according to Jim Potee, Valparaiso, Ind. Photo submitted by Frank Kuehl.


C. Floor clamp or jack used before subflooring was developed. The curved part of the tool fit on the floor joist and the tongue fit in the slot. The handle then pulled the floor piece tight to nail. Identified by Richard J. Blough, Michael Bleisch and John Olson, Parsons, Kan. "It is used when installing 3-inch tongue-and-groove flooring boards," John notes. "The lower left part wedges onto the floor joist. The lower right part fits over the 'tongue' part of the floorboard. The lever, when pulled, forces the board, which might be slightly warped, against the previous board while the nail is driven through the floorboard and into the joist. You will see a raised pedestal on the part that engages the tongue. That can be struck by the hammer if more help is needed to get the board in line." Photo submitted by Glen Rupert, Peoria, Ill.


Patent 338,933: Flooring jack, patented by Henry C. Cloyd, Union City, Ind., March 30, 1886. (This is not the exact patent for Item C, but it is very similar.)

D. Used to throw clay pigeons during shotgun practice, as identified by Jim Potee; Howard Craven, Waterloo, Iowa; Stanley Pelzer, Griswold, Iowa; and Lloyd Whitworth, Hillsboro, Ill. "My dad had one of these when I was a kid," Howard recalls. "You can put one or two clay pigeons under the spring-loaded holder on the top. The handle is loosened by a thumb nut on the bottom." Stanley recalls a cautionary note. "The clay pigeons were very toxic to hogs so they weren't thrown where they could get them," he says. Photo submitted by Donald Crader, Wills Point, Texas.

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. E-mail responses may be sent to
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Title Annotation:What-Is-It?
Publication:Farm Collector
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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