Hazard A Guess: Week of Jan. 23, 2003.

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Hello from Hazard!

The e-mails were a-flyin’ in response to Item No. 670, and I’m sure the mailbag will be full, too, although the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday may have prevented some of your responses from reaching us in time for this week’s paper.

Interestingly, Mark Steeb of Columbiana, Ohio, who submitted the item used the tool for an entirely different purpose that all of the hazard guessers. I’d say they’re right, Mark, but as with any tool, industrious people usually find more than one use for them!

Item No. 670 is a spanner wrench used primarily by firefighters to tighten the hose couplings on a fire hose, as a pry bar, and even as a gas shut-off key (slot on the left side).

We heard from several past or present firefighters, including: Barry Cornell of Gnadenhutten, Ohio (former chief of the Pleasantville, N.Y., fire department); former volunteer firefighter Hugh Coffman of Marietta, Ohio; James Burrell, retired assistant fire chief, Newark, Ohio; and Charlie Barnette, captain of the Town and Country Fire Department in West Salem, Ohio.

We also heard from the following readers with the same answer (who may be affiliated with a fire department but didn’t indicate so): Mark Landis, Franklin Park, Pa.; Jim Scott, Hookstown, Pa.; Drew Podnar, Clinton, Pa.; Dave Bush, Fowler, Ohio;

Jeff Dudas, Aurora, Ohio (who adds these have been around since the 1800s and have changed very little); Jeff Wehman, Ellwood City, Pa.; Carl Kutsko; Donn White, Wooster, Ohio; Fred Maihle Jr., Butler, Pa.; Jim Dolosich, Valley City, Ohio; Tom Hooper, Richfield, Ohio; Glenn Rummell; and Joe Kale, Damascus, Ohio.

On to Item No. 671: Readers Debbie and Tom Edling of Salem, Ohio, aren’t quite sure what this is. They found it while going through items in the estate of Tom’s grandfather. The gears move and the part on the left moves up and down.

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

Don’t forget: You can check out recent weeks of Hazard online at our Web site: www.farmanddairy.com. Just click on the “Hazard a Guess” link along the left-hand side.

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Margarine. We also received responses to our question about early margarine. Several readers indicated a complete history was available online at www.margarine.org/historyofmargarine.html, from its creation in France in the 1800s by a man who ultimately died in obscurity before margarine was accepted. In 1873, a U.S. patent was granted.

“Despite the unpromising beginnings of the inventor, margarine production continued to expand, and soon dairy farmers were protesting at the competition. In the United States, the popularity of margarine fluctuated, largely due to the efforts of the government to protect the dairy farmers. Taxes were imposed upon margarine sales.

“Soon margarine was no longer allowed to be colored, and some producers began to include food color packets for the consumer to mix with their margarine. Many states required expensive licenses to be able to produce margarine, while other states prohibited the sale of margarine altogether. This ban on margarine continued until after World War II.

“… It wasn’t until 1951 that margarine makers were allowed to color their margarine again. There were some states that held on to their margarine ban; Wisconsin, a state that depends heavily upon dairy products for its revenue, was the last to repeal its law in 1967.

Many thanks to Eddie Hawks of Ashland, Ohio; Charles Spencer of Sewickley, Pa.; Mrs. Glenn Aufrance; Phyllis Andrews of Youngstown; and Darlene Phillips of Pittsburgh.

Mrs. Aufrance recalls, as a young child in Alliance, Ohio, in the mid-1930s, that a door-to-door salesman first showed her family oleo margarine and asked for a slice of bread to demonstrate the product. Her mother decided to buy some.

“Mother didn’t care for it, though, so she would always mix in an equal amount of butter, and that made it acceptable to us all.”

Hope this helps end the debate John Borkowski of Kirtland, Ohio, and his buddies are having about margarine!

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