Hazard A Guess: Week of Feb. 4, 2010


Hello from Hazard!

Lots of mail this week, so let’s get right down to it.

Do you remember that wire rack thingee that was Item No. 878. Hazard readers suspected it was a card holder, but weren’t exactly sure.

Well, Donna Gordon, of Powell, Ohio, sent in proof. She copied a page from an old Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog that showed our “Double Card Holder, made of twisted steel wire, brightly tinned.” You could get a 10-inch version for 10 cents or a 24-inch beauty for 25 cents. Thanks, Donna, for solving a hazard-ous mystery!


* * *

And moving up to Item No. 879, our pants stretcher, reader Allen C. Conti sent us a photo of a hat stretcher (also shown this week) that proves it looks a lot different. “Using the pant stretcher for a hat would only work if you had an extremely oval head!” Conti adds.


A hat stretcher

Norma Geiwitz, of West Middlesex, Pa., also wrote us a note to mention the size difference in the similar-looking stretchers, as did Robert Matz of Cozad, Neb., who also included an ad for a modern pants stretcher ($19.99).

* * *

Geiwitz also added her two cents on Item No. 880, the scissors-looking thing. Like others, she still thinks it’s a jar opener.

But Gerald Payne, of Mecca, Ohio, believes it just might be a “grabber” to snare fish instead of a net, which is what Monroe Harbage of Plain City, Ohio, thinks, too. “It’s a real help to hold catfish when taking them off the hook,” Harbage adds.

I guess we haven’t determined with any certainty what it is, but it’s time to get on with our lives.


Item No. 880

* * *

There was no uncertainty in readers’ responses to Item No. 881, which we first showed last week, brought in by John Hammond, of North Benton, Ohio.



Item No. 881

“C’mon, Hazard, this one is almost too easy!” wrote Jeff Sutherland of Mogadore, Ohio.

Sutherland and many other readers knew Item No. 881 was a crimper, used to iron pleats or ruffles back into shape. It could be used on ladies’ bonnets, men’s or women’s frilly collars or shirt fronts, or even curtains.

The metal slab was removed from the base and heated on a stove, placed back in the base, and then the fabric placed on top of the base and the handheld crimper roller reshaped the fabric as it was rolled across the grooves.

Our thanks to Sutherland; Monroe Harbage; Carl Webster, Brunswick, Ohio; Shirley Neiswonger, Beallsville, Ohio; Joe Ellis, Wooster, Ohio; Fred Double, Farmdale, Ohio; Ron Brokaw, Bellville, Ohio; and Roger Rhoads, Mentor, Ohio.

Mr. Hammond’s particular model was inscribed with “Shepard Hardware Co., Patd Nov 12 Dec 17 1878 and Jan 13 1880, Buffalo, N.Y.”

* * *

This week’s item comes from Randy Winland, of Prospect, Ohio. It’s a metal handle and hook attached to a woven fabric strip with a bracket on the other end. The bracket loops over the fabric strip and will cinch up tightly when pulled.

Item No. 882

Do you know how it was used?

Write to: Hazard a Guess, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or via e-mail to: editorial@farmanddairy.com.

And if you’ve got a Hazard-ous item in your shed, barn or basement, send us a photo or digital photo file, along with a complete description of the item and its use. You can use the contact information above, or even send a photo via our Web site.


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  1. While this particular rope hose tool is probably old, they are still in use today. They are designed to secure fire hose to ladders. You can imagine the weight of a fully charged hose and the difficulty of holding it steady on a ladder. The hose is “slip knotted through the one end, then the curved part with the handle is simply placed over the rung of the ladder to relieve the strain. Hopefully this helps. Chuck Harubin, Normantown, WV


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