Hazard a Guess on this toothy mystery antique tool

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Hello from Hazard!
Well, we received no shortages of o-pin-ions on Item No. 1101, our mystery pin/needle that we’ve featured for several weeks.
To recap, last week we reported that readers thought it might be: a lacing pin used to close and hold skin on breast and tail of a stuffed turkey or other bird; an eye needle used in making jewelry; a pin used on a chain, and used by a surveyor to measure distance; an upholstery pin, used extensively in the furniture business, and also in the taxidermy trade.
And the diversity of responses continues this week.

  • A pin used to unlock interior doors like bedroom or bathroom doors. You simply insert this pin and the lock will unlock. This one got three votes, from Carl McConnell, of Bessemer, Pa.; John Fair, of Dalton, Ohio; and an emailer who forgot to include his/her name.
  • A tatting needle for making, or tatting lace. Terri Horning submitted this response, along with a photo of various other tatting needles, and indeed one has a circle on the top like our mystery pin.
  • An old toothpick. Lehr Dircks, of Loudonville, Ohio, says the photo isn’t very clear, but our pin is the same size as the old gold toothpicks.
  • Baked potato skewer. John Wright says his mother uses a similar pin to make baked potatoes. She puts the pin lengthwise through the potato and the heat is distributed throughout it to better cook the center.
  • The poultry lacing pin or skewer mentioned last week was a popular response for readers this week, too, including Roy Schiebel; Sandy Truckner, Avonmore, Pa.; Bill Jamieson, Sheffield Village, Ohio; Randi Wortham; Adolf Nagler; and Patty Habbyshaw.

Our thanks to everyone who took the time to email, write or call. I don’t know if we say “majority rules,” or leave it an unsolved pin-stery.


And you know we hate to follow one mysterious hazard item with another, but we’re confident this one won’t remain a mystery.


Item No. 1102 comes from Bob Brown, of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, who found it in a shed. It’s right around 3 feet long, with alternative teeth that are attached to a quarter-inch rod. There is a wooden handle, much like you would find on a brace and bit drill.
Can anyone explain its use? Email us at editorial@farmanddairy.com; or respond by mail to: Hazard a Guess, c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460. You can also find Hazard a Guess on our website, www.farmanddairy.com, by keyword searching for “Hazard.”

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