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Bird Doo Head 11-09-2012 07:07 AM

Asking For Help Identifying A Mystery Tool
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Good Morning!

I found, in my home of the last 25+ years, an interesting tool hanging from a rafter. For the life of me, I can't figure out what it is used for.

I posted some photos. The head made me think it was a boiler gauge glass cutter- for cylindrical glass tubes. But, there is no piece to score the glass. There's a nice vee block in the crotch of the head. It can pivot around, but not rotate. I tried various sizes of drill rod, just to see if it would, indeed, score the metal as if it was glass. No contact is made.

The head does not swivel, so the hook is parallel with the vee in the vee block. It's quite a fancy hook, too.

The tool is 5-3/8" long. The head will fit a maximum of 29/64" cylinder inserted endwise. The largest piece which will lay in the vee block is 21/64"

Do any of you recognize this tool? Just curious!

Thanks for your thoughts & enjoy today!

BigJim 11-09-2012 08:03 AM

Don't have a clue but it looks like something to cut some kind of string.

DexterII 11-09-2012 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by BigJim (Post 1048038)
Don't have a clue but it looks like something to cut some kind of string.

I agree. It hasn't been that long ago, although maybe longer than some of us care to remember, that hardware stores, bakeries, meat markets, etc. all did their own packaging. Along or behind the counter, there would be scales, stacks of paper bags (no platic!), large rolls of paper, and large rolls of string (or twine, depending on the product). The string was often on a large spool located above the work area, and I don't remember exactly what they all looked like, but do recall some that utilized a device similar to what you have, positioned such that the string would pass through them, and when the clerk wanted to cut it they the string or twine they would jerk on it, and the blade would cut it. The side was open so that the string could be quickly flipped back over the blade for the next task. May not be right, but, again, something very similar at least was used this way.

gregzoll 11-09-2012 12:14 PM

Give Antique Archeology a call (563) 265-3939 Danielle could probably tell you what it does, or maybe Frank.

Bird Doo Head 11-09-2012 02:03 PM

Thanks for the ideas!
I think you guys are onto something with the string cutter idea. The vee block is certainly sharp enough to cut something. The hook looks like it could be perfect to hold the knot while cutting.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am also old enough to have been part of those days. I can still remember, as a little kid, sneaking across the 'busy street' at the corner of our block in Detroit just about 5 o'clock closing time for the market- we'd get free 'day old' rolls to eat from a bakery counter that had the white cotton string sticking out of the ceiling. Being a dopey kid, I always thought the giant metal box you could see on the roof held the giant ball of twine.

If we made a new kite of newspaper & sticks, the nice bakery counter lady would whack a really long chunk of string for it from the roll with a magic tool that she'd pull out of nowhere.

Believe it or not, in my garage rafters, I have a giant cylinder of (sadly- nylon) twine with the end hanging down. There's an old pair of dykes laying on the shelf where the end of the string lands. I chop off pieces all the time for bundling wood scraps or twigs & stuff for trash day.

This may be one of those bakery type cutters, after all!
Thanks for the ideas! I think I'll go find some cotton twine to cut.

AirKingFS 11-09-2012 02:46 PM

I love the mystery of it. Perhaps it's a device for capturing chickens and prying eggs out of them?

Bird Doo Head 11-09-2012 03:52 PM

That would make for one crabby chicken!

PS: I see the Bostitch nailer on your side bar. How do you like Bostitch pneumatic tools? Have you had good reliability with them?
Last month I bought a new finish nailer from them that uses 34 degree DA nails, instead of their FN's. (DA's are easier to find around here.)

I haven't tried it yet- Leaks air non stop from the dust blower. It's been in the Stanley-Bostitch repair shop since the day I got it. (Too new- Local service center does not have the parts they need.)

It seems like a well designed tool (except for the air leaking thing). Well balanced & very light. I think I'll like the rear exhaust, too.

Thurman 11-24-2012 05:06 PM

Good idea to call Danielle. For me. I have a sixty-three year old tool that I cannot remember what it is for.

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