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What’s this? What’s this?


One of the particular pleasures of this show (the one we went to over the weekend) are the old tools. Several long rows of vendors selling old carpentry tools, car parts, gas cans, garden seats. Bunch of rusty junk, but often cheap and lots of fun.

The farm tools, like the ones above, are particularly interesting. They tend to be regional, locally manufactured (perhaps even by a village blacksmith) and intended for a very particular job. Like…I dunno…prying ant nests out of fields whole (that is a real tool I saw once, though I don’t see an example there).

Problem is, with many of these tools, nobody has the slightest idea what they were intended to do. The old boys have died out. We often ask, we sometimes get an answer, but more often not.

See if you can figure any of these out. Don’t try it from the little version: here’s a color pic (about a meg). The handles often provide the best clue.

There won’t be a quiz later, though. Just to break the suspense, I only know what a couple of these things were for.


Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: September 13, 2017, 10:08 pm

The one on the right with the metal ball on the end of a handle resembles a Native American war club (rounded stone hammer). My guess is a weapon.

Comment from OldFert
Time: September 13, 2017, 11:01 pm

My guesses: Tenth from the left, next to the oddly-shaped blade, looks like a shingle/shake removal tool (slide up under, use hooks at the top to cut the nails). Next to that, the three thingies with the knobby bottoms, look like sprinklers of some sort. I have no idea why one would have all the other fittings tie-wrapped to it.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 13, 2017, 11:43 pm

The small diameter pipe with the fittings on it is a sprayer assembly. Either to spray row crops with herbicide or pesticide, or fertilizer, or for livestock where you mist/spray the animals as they are herded through a chute where they get inspected, injected, and sometimes rejected.

Comment from Brother Cavil, paging Bill Guisarme on the red courtesy phone
Time: September 13, 2017, 11:53 pm

A lot of weapons were derived from farming implements. The original dual-use tech, if you will.

Comment from tonycc
Time: September 14, 2017, 12:11 am

The one on the far left in the color pic is a dog leg. Usually used to keep said dog from face planting when motivating.

Comment from Bob
Time: September 14, 2017, 1:06 am

Silly me. I thought those things might be dental tools. I guess the dentist scene in the Little Shop of Horrors has been on my mind.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: September 14, 2017, 1:23 am

I’m pretty sure one of those things is the clam-poon, used by Rubin Clamso.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 14, 2017, 2:15 am

In the color photo, the left-most completely shown one with the wooden handle
is a doll beheading axe. I had a nice blue one when I was a child.

Comment from I Did Something!
Time: September 14, 2017, 3:46 am

Granted, some of these could serve dual purpose farming/close quarters social interaction devices.
But this is Ye Oulde Blightey. The isle of degenerate debauchery and thinly suppressed depravity. No use blaming Normans and Vikings. Some of these are probably personal massage devices.

Comment from peacelovewoodstock
Time: September 14, 2017, 11:53 am

Third from the right is definitely a hash pipe, I had one just like that in college.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: September 14, 2017, 12:53 pm

Guessing wild here. Tools 4 & 5 from the right look like they were made by the same hand (the double pronged tool and the cork-screw gizmo). The cork-screw reminds me of the tool used for tying down rebar. Maybe kitchen fireplace cooking tools?

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 14, 2017, 2:13 pm

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 14, 2017, 2:15 am
In the color photo, the left-most completely shown one with the wooden handle
is a doll beheading axe. I had a nice blue one when I was a child.

I suspect there might be an extremely rare miniature version, the hamster-neutering snickersnack.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 14, 2017, 2:21 pm

Dont you have all those industrial archaeologists, i.e. Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands, over there. Wdnt people like them be able to tell you what they were?

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: September 14, 2017, 3:20 pm

The thing way off to the left is a MK I Manual Encabulator.

Seriously though, #4 (the clampoon) from the right could be a fireman’s hook pike or a pike pole for construction (lifting or holding wooden framing into place think Amish barn raising).

The upside down hammer on the upper left and the hammer to the right of it are probably railway hammers – the war-hammer looking one looks like a railroad spike hammer – though it was more fun to think it WAS a war-hammer.

And isn’t that the top of a pole dancing pole over there on the far right?

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 14, 2017, 3:59 pm

Third from the left, the one that looks like an over-sized mutant spork (or is that “foon”?) appears to be an early prototype take-down wall-to-wall carpet stretcher. But looks can be deceiving.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 14, 2017, 4:03 pm

That thing to the left of the hash pipe is a peavey made by a drunken blacksmith.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 14, 2017, 7:25 pm

Y’all crack me up.

Yes, the sprayer looking things are plant sprayers of various kinds. The thing with the ball on the end is for stunning hogs before butchering them. And that’s all I know for sure.

Yeah, somebody like Peter Ginn could probably explain most of them (if only I had him on speed dial!), but lots of tools were regional and sometimes very, very local. Like, down to a single blacksmith, or a farmer that described something he wanted and several of his neighbors fancied one, too.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: September 15, 2017, 4:34 am

Terry Pratchett pointed out in a couple of his books that yer average peasant had access to a variety of weapons that would make a cavalry soldier wet himself. Even today, if you tried running through Smithfield Market bent on mischief at two in the morning you’d come out the other side as mince.

Comment from Timothy J. McCorkle
Time: September 16, 2017, 6:08 am

one appears to be a logging Pike… Used to maneuver logs in a pond. cork screw is VERY remoniscent of a Cannoneers “Worm for removing debris from the bore Prior to swabbing and reloading.

Comment from Nuestra Magistra De Mustelas Ora Pro Nobis
Time: September 16, 2017, 9:05 pm

Saw these somewhere. No telling what these are from, probably from some old tractor.

Comment from gsebes
Time: September 18, 2017, 10:39 pm

Looks to be implements to care,feed and maintain a Field Artillery piece…Howitzer! I see lighter rope holder, squib extractor, ball on stick to check for blockages, barrel reamer, axes and adz for carriage repair.

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