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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?

January's mystery tools

(Answers to February's items will appear in the April issue.)


A. We have no definitive answer, but this tool may have been used to produce baling wire used on hand-tied balers. Photo submitted by Allen Hanawalt, Logansport, Ind.


B. This appears to be a very early or highly modified tree faller attachment for a very popular Kansas-produced log saw, according to George and Helen Myers, Blain, Pa., who note that it may have been produced for a tractor saw instead of a portable drag saw. As indicated in a catalog illustration, hooks secured the framework to the tree. The saw mechanism from the unit would be transferred to this framework. A jack shaft would then be extended from the power unit. Bob Hirn, Cass City, Mich., concurs, identifying the device as an attachment for an Ottawa drag saw. "It allows you to fell a tree," he explains. "The photos show it laying on its side not in the working position. By turning it a quarter-turn clockwise, it would be in the working position. The two threaded rods with tightening wheels at the far end in the picture are used to fasten the unit to the tree with the use of a chain. The saw blade and gears are removed from the draw saw and placed on the attachment where you see the short heavy pin and gear in the lower picture. Photo submitted by Doug Carroll, New Palestine, Ind.


C. Hand-hewn wooden bowl used in chopping small materials. Photo submitted by Dan Taylor, Albertville, Ala.

March mystery tools



"PAT APLD FOR" on the handle.



Some type of press, stamped with "Dutchess Tool Co., Beacon, N.Y., USA Pat. April 4, 1916"





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
Article Type:Photograph
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2008
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