Hazard A Guess: Week of November 6, 2003.

Hello from Hazard!

The trouble with identifying widgets from photographs is that you can’t pick the item up, turn it over, see what turns and what doesn’t. And oftentimes, widgets for one purpose often look similar to widgets used for another purpose.

Such is the case with Item No. 695.

It looks like an early hair curling iron, but it’s not.

Instead, the pointed tool is a glove stretcher. Usually made of wood, ivory or bone, the stretcher is used to reshape the fingers of gloves after washing. The narrow end of the tool is placed into the finger of a glove and then the other end is depressed to separate and reshape the slender finger.

Lynn Herold of Garrettsville, Ohio, and a West Point, Ohio, reader who signed the name simply “J.R.” correctly identified the tool.

* * *

This week’s item is a true mystery item. Earl Strahler of Hartville, who sent in the photograph, admits he doesn’t know what in the world it is. He bought it at an auction near Garrettsville and no one there knew what it was, either.

It measures 19 1/2 inches long and is 7 1/2 inches wide at the larger end, where there is an eight-wrap spring around a large peg. The large peg then connects to a smaller peg, where the tool is 5 1/2 inches wide.

The large peg has a hole in each end and can be turned about 90 degrees before the spring tightens.

At the small end, there is a 2 1/4 -by- 7/8 inch block held on by two screws.

There is a date and marking in the middle of the tool, but that would be giving you too many clues, perhaps.

If you know what the tool was used for, write to us at: Hazard a Guess, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or send an e-mail to: editorial@farmanddairy.com.

You can check out the past four weeks’ worth of Hazard a Guess columns on our Web site, www.farmanddairy.com.

Just click on the “Hazard a Guess” link on the left side.

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