Can you identify this week’s new mystery antique item?

Item No. 1238

Hello from Hazard!

We had another response come in on Item No. 1235. Mike Albrecht agreed with other readers that it is a railroad stop signal. It is held on the track with lead strips and explodes when the train wheel hits it signaling the train to stop.
Joyce Hann found three tins (Item No. 1235) in a box at her late father’s house.

Item No. 1235 inside
Item No. 1235









We had many, many guesses come in on Item No. 1237.
Larry Broestle said it’s what is left of a horse-drawn threshing machine.
Richard Hill, of Medina, Ohio; Wayne Landis, of Freedom, Pennsylvania; Alvin Vogel; Uria Hershberger, of Navarre, Ohio; Samuel Miller, of Ashland, Ohio (who still uses one today); William Miller, of Smicksburg, Pennsylvania (who still uses it today to cut oats); John Miller; Robert Yoder, of Millersburg, Ohio; Roman Coblentz, of Baltic, Ohio; Tim Snyder, of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania; Larry Litman, of Washington, Pennsylvania; all said it looks like a horse-drawn grain binder, single wheel drive.

George H. Wimer, of Tidioute, Pennsylvania, agreed and said Item No. 1237 is a 1920s or 1930s McCormick Deering grain binder. “It was used to harvest wheat, oats and rye. The cuter bar in the bottom picture would cut off the stalks and they fell onto the canvas web that passed over the metal plate behind it, which moved to the left. They then moved up a canvas web that was slanted up at 45 degrees. This was just above the large bull wheel at the center of the top picture. All of the gearing above the bull wheel should be rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise. The area behind the cutter bar is called the table. The webbing had small wooden slats attached to the outer surface. The grain stalks were gathered into bundles called sheaves and tied with binder twine and fell on to a basket that a rider released with a foot peddle when it had about six sheaves on it. I know because that was my job at 8 years old. And that was 72 years ago. The sheaves were shocked and later hauled to the barn to be thrashed by the thrashing machine. The grain was put in the grainery and straw in the straw mow. The Amish still use this process. Note: You can watch this process on the internet. Just look up McCormick Deering grain binder.”
Roman Miller, of Fredericksburg, Ohio, adds the two sections put together are one machine. It is pulled by two, three or four horses. By pulling it along, it cuts the grain and ties it in bundles and they are thrown out the side.

Gordon Matthews, of New Plymouth, Ohio, submitted the item.

Item No. 1237
Item No. 1237









Item No. 1238

Tom Lang, of Big Prairie, Ohio, submitted Item No. 1238.
Do you know what the item is or how the item is used? Let us know by emailing us at; or by mail to: Hazard a Guess, c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.



We were saddened to hear longtime Hazard reader, Richard Bader, 85, a resident of Middletown, New York, passed away, Jan. 16. Richard had a guess almost every week, and if he didn’t know what an item was, he did his best to ask around or do his own research. He will be missed.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.