Hazard a guess on this tool from Plain City


Hello from Hazard!
Many readers quickly responded to Item No. 1121, telling us it was a screw jack (missing the top swivel part of the jack) that was used as a building jack and also a railroad jack. Someone also called it a bottle jack.
(Is there a difference between a building jack and a railroad jack?)
Screw jack collector Owen Knupke, of Sandusky, Ohio, was one of our early responses. He adds that the 2×12 marking indicates the size of the jack. And David Roenigk, of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, identified it specifically as a vintage “II & B Co. Vulcan Brand Cast Iron Railroad Bottle Screw Jack,” made by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Co.
Don Boron, of Magnolia, Ohio, also explained how it was used:
“It is operated by placing a long bar horizontally in the holes at the top. Using the bar as a lever, it operates the screw, extending the length of the device, thus lifting whatever is above.
“This particular jack appears to be missing a flat plate at the top, that would have a ball-type depression on the bottom side that would be greased before using. This would allow the screw to be turned to do the lifting, while the plate would stay stationary against what is being lifted.”
Chris Vatty and Bob Casto both sent us the photo that shows the item with the missing top piece, and we’re also showing Vatty’s photo.

Our thanks to Dale Johnson, of Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, who submitted the item.
We also heard from the following readers, who knew how Item No. 1121 was used:
George Steve, Lakelynn, Pennsylvania; Fred Drotleff; John E. Thomas, Fowler, Ohio; Monroe Harbage, Plain City, Ohio; Dave Dawes, North Lawrence, Ohio; Charles Parsons, Le Roy, West Virginia; Chuck Kelley; Mark, from North Lawrence, Ohio; Dewayne Shoup; David Shober, Pulaski, Pennsylvania; Ron McLaughlin, Granville, Ohio; Evelyn Hartenstein, Wakeman, Ohio; Dr. Allan Lines, Worthingon, Ohio;
Bill McChesney, New Galilee, Pennsylvania; William Malik; George Wimer, Tidioute, Pa.; Bob Casto; Wendell Cole, Lisbon, Ohio; Gary Miller, Suffield, Ohio; Russ Roberts Twinsburg, Ohio; Wayne Cooper, Fombell, Pa. (his friend Jake Faith has more than 300 jacks in his collection); Don Russell, Raymond, Ohio; Michael Markel, North Jackson, Ohio; Frank Mellott, Mechanicsburg, Pa.; and George Patterson.
Wimer writes that when he worked on a construction project in the 1980s, they were removing a concrete pier that supported an I-beam, and found one of these jacks under the beam inside the concrete. It was in “like new” condition!
And Don Russell adds this: “People always wanted to ‘borrow’ these jacks, but they never returned them. I used to have six; now I have one. My father probably had a dozen, as he did a lot of barn repair. When we settled his estate, he had none! They just never came home.”

Secondary View of Item No. 1122

Item No. 1122 comes from Monroe Harbage, of Plain City, Do you know how it was used?
Email us at editorial@farmanddairy.com; or by mail to: Hazard a Guess, c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460. (And a reminder, if you’re emailing your response, please include your full name, hometown and state, so we can make you famous.)


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