Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mystery Tool - Additional Photos and Thoughts

A few additional pictures of the mystery tool along with some new thoughts and observations. You can click on any picture for a larger view.

Full tool, with quarter for scale and a new angle on the "loop" to show thickness:

A close-up of the business end - note wear pattern inside opposite corners of the slot (which I think indicates it was used as some kind of wrench):

A close-up of the end of the threaded cap - showing what I previously took to be the initials "B.H." - although now I am not so sure:

My brother Josh thinks that this might have been some kind of sewing machine wrench for changing needles, which were stored in the compartment in the handle. I like that guess, but so far I have not found any supporting information.

What do you think?


  1. I think that some kind of a wrench, maybe an ancient tools for turning something.

    Aoudad Sheep Hunting

  2. It's way too big for a sewing machine needle. But the wear definitely looks like the tool was used as a wrench of some sort.

  3. Looks like a bleeder wrench for an old radiator. Old cast iron water radiators get air in them, which prevents the circulation of hot water, so there's a valve at the top which you open up to let the air out. Steam radiators I'm not as familiar with, but it'd be nice to have a wooden handle to bleed water out of them if need be.

    --Anonymous Comment-Leaving Person

  4. A picture of the inside of the compartment and cap, could show wear patterns due to its content. Needles for example should have left specific marks.

  5. Dan,
    It seems to be a wrench -or it was at least used as one. The distinct wear pattern in two diagonally opposed inside corners seems to suggest that.
    I wonder if it is a wrench for an awl. Some older leather working awls have a split chuck with a tightening screw that probably fits the opening in your tool. Another thing I noticed is that the bulbous handle is similar to the type of awl that has that type of a split chuck.
    Take a look at some in the top row of this picture:

    But I could be completely wrong.


  6. Looks to be about the right size for a zither pin wrench. There was a wide variety of stringed instruments around the turn of the century that used zither pins as tuners. A tuning wrench is needed to turn the pins to tune. Not sure why it would have a hollow handle. The shape of the wrench opening would work perfect for the rectangular or square head of a zither pin.

  7. Great ideas everyone! Alfred, you got it! Thanks!

    See the next post for the wrap-up.


Comment Moderation has been turned on - too much spam! Bummer.

I will get an email notification and will approve any appropriate comments ASAP.