Hello from Hazard!
The mailbag brought another flurry of correct identification for Item No. 684, which we unveiled last week as a plumber’s tool for “pouring” hot lead into cast-iron pipe joints.
Readers gave the tool several similar names: a pouring rope, asbestos rope, plumber’s rope or a joint runner.
It was used to keep the molten lead in place when pouring anything other than a vertical joint. A piece of “oakum,” which reader Clark Colby tells us was asphalt-saturated hemp or linen rope, was tamped into the space to prevent the molten lead from running into the pipe interior.
The rope on our mystery item was wrapped around the pipe, and the clamp was used to hold it in place. The lead was poured through a small opening and once the joint was cured, the rope was removed.
“If the plumber hasn’t yet set the house on fire or terminally scalded himself with splashed molten lead, he moved to the next joint and repeated the process,” Colby adds.
Donn White of Wooster, Ohio, included a copy of a catalog page advertising Coleman Lead Joint Runners. There was no year indicated, but you could buy ropes to fit various pipe sizes for $2.95 to $7.75, and the joint runner to fit pipes of 16-inch diameter up to 48 inches for $14.95 to $27.95.
“No waste lead or burned fingers…” the ad reads. (Tell that to Clark Colby!)
Our thanks to the following readers for taking the time to write: Chad Funk, Canton, Ohio; Randy Winland, Prospect, Ohio; Mike Esposito, Salem, Ohio; Dave Schumacher, Clinton, Pa.; Kay Sigler, Canton, Ohio; Dale Gregg, Sycamore, Ohio; Jim Coleman, Wellsville, Ohio; Edward Wanchock, Sewickley, Pa.; Ray Betz, Minerva, Ohio; Chris Abbott, Glenshaw, Pa.; Keith Kersten, North Lima, Ohio; Jack Tittle, Kinsman, Ohio; and James Ramsey, Beloit, Ohio.
tem No. 685.I Robert Smith of Southington, Ohio, was the first reader to identify Item No. 685 as a tool used to splice wires together.
This particular tool, marked “Crescent Tool Co., Jamestown, N.Y., Patents 1994972-19949773,” seems to handle heavy-duty wires, like electric lines, says Edward Wanchock, who submitted the tool to Hazard.
And so, we move on to Item No. 686, shared by Arthur Haught of Darlington, Pa. This one is truly a mystery item, because Haught doesn’t know what it is. The handle on the right rotates the piece on top, which can move up and down.
Think you know what it is? Send your answers to: Hazard a Guess, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or via e-mail to: email@example.com..