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Wanted: gadgets, gizmos and 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?

August's mystery tools

(Answers to September's items will appear in the November issue.)

A. We're stumped: no answers received. Photo submitted by Ed Johns, Pecatonica, Ill.


B. Tool to use in sharpening disc blades, as identified by Jake Ferrari, Newry, Pa.; Verl Cutler, Claremont, S.D.; Buck and Cathy Evans, Greenville, Ill. "You straddled the axle with it and held the cutting tool against the disc blade," Buck notes. Photo submitted by Merrill Streeter, Prairie City, Iowa. (See patent no. 552,999 at left.)


C. Appears to be a "pan pick-up." The piece hooked onto a plain pan, creating a handle. Photo submitted by Floyd Morefield, Bloomington, Ill.


D. A tire-upsetter, used to make the steel tire around the wooden wheel for some buggies and wagons, as identified by George D. Offutt, Platte City, Mo.; Buck and Cathy Evans, Greenville, Ill.; Marvin Mills, Phoenix, Ariz.; Jack Holland, Louisiana, Mo.; and Dan Hazlett, Norton, Kan. "Wooden wheel wagons had a band of metal around the outside," George explains. "This had a two-fold purpose: First, it kept the wooden felloes from coming apart and separating from the spokes, and second, the iron band (called a tire) wore much better than wood. I had two tire shrinkers, but a couple of high school boys sold them for salvage."

"Wooden wheels on wagons would get dry in summer heat," explains Jack. "The wood shrunk away from the iron tire and the tire would come off the wheel. Blacksmiths would place the tire in a forge and get it very hot. The tire shrinker would be opened by a wooden handle fitted into the tool. The hot wagon tire was placed in the shrinker and the handle was pulled down to reduce the diameter of the tire. The tire was replaced on the wooden wheel, which would be tighter than before. Some old-timers would back their wagons into a pond, leaving them overnight to tighten the tires." Photo submitted by David H. Snow, Northville, N.Y. (See patents 196,923 and 148,385 at left.)


October's mystery tools

A. Cast iron with "American Mfg. Co. Pat. Dec. 8, 1885."


B. Cast with "American Machine Co. Philadelphia, PA. CROWN Pat. Nov. 2, 1875(3?)-July 5, 1877 Reissued March 25, 1880." Base of item is 9 inches by 6 inches.


C. Nineteen inches long. This has the appearance of a chamfer knife, but has replaceable blades on both edges and is too wide for a drawknife operation.


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Title Annotation:WHAT-IS-IT
Publication:Farm Collector
Article Type:Photograph
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Previous Article:Patents for August items.
Next Article:For want of a nail: lowly nail kept a nation growing.

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