Gristmill What’s It

Pre 2011

From Earlier Issues & Others

The Gristmill What’s It Column for December 2011

145-1 6” long, from the Wisconsin What’s It presentation: 

Text on the handle says “Lutz File and Tool Co. Cinti, O” but that probably refers to the handle only and not the part with the gears.


The tag measures 4-3/4″ x 2-3/8″:

This item is sealed closed, the only opening is the small hole which measures just less than 1/2″, the pieces of canvas are riveted to the tubes and could not be easily replaced.

I’ve shown these photos to a lot of people, the best guess that I’ve heard for it is that it’s for catching a swarm of bees or other insects, with the tubes being filled with some type of attractant.  The second best guess is that it’s someone’s prototype for an invention, purpose unknown.  Hopefully someone here will provide us with a verifiable answer.







More unidentified items





The owner of this tool says that the attached bar can move inside the curve of the tines and then springs back to its original location

Several people have suggested that this tool is for use in a garden, while someone else thought it might be a clam digger.


An unidentified tool from the Erie, Pa. 2008 meeting, turns out that it’s for holding a window sash, patent number 40,819

From the Bowling Green 2011 meeting, someone was looking for the exact purpose of this clamp:


The next two items are from the Louisville 2010 meeting.

Around 5″ long:



Some kind of crimper:



This is part of a doorbell, patent number 212,676:


Pat. Feb. 25th, 1879


The next two are from the Indianapolis 2009 meeting

Another clamp, with a spring at the top left:

A handle for pushing or pulling something:



The next two are from the Decatur 2008 meeting

Below the screw is a U shape that could hold a dowel or rod:


Answer: a hot water heater stand

Text on it reads 12-1/2, 12-5/8, and 12-3/4, the numbers indicate what diameter heater that it can hold


March 2012

Answer: Probably a crossbow lever that is missing its hook, similar to the one here:


These are wedge drivers for use when rewinding electric motors. Fiber or wooden wedges are used to hold the windings in the slots. The wedges are inserted into the box portion of the tool, and the insert is tapped with a hammer to drive the wedge. It keeps the wedges from bending or breaking.


June 2012

10-1/2″ long, another unidentified tool, it was found in someone’s great grandfather’s medical kit, who practiced medicine up until 1910:


9″ long, the round part can slide along the shaft:



The patent for this wrench is number 870,781, it was made by the the Craftsman Tool Co. in Conneaut, Ohio:


A leather stretcher for use on shoes:




A broom pounder or broom hammer, it was used to compress the broom corn and tighten the wire as the corn was fastened to the handle.




A wrench for turning the nut on the inner end of a tooth in the cylinder of a threshing machine:




Seen in use below:

A Goodell-Pratt Bench Drill:


A clapboard gauge