Hazard A Guess: Week of June 7, 2001


Hello from Hazard!

Let’s take a vote and see how many readers identified Item No. 621: Lots!

It may have been a mystery to the reader who sent it in, but the item is still in use in many fraternal lodges or organizations. It’s a ballot box, used for secret ballots or to accept or reject a new member, that uses marbles for tallying votes.

Black and white marbles are in the tray. To vote, members choose a marble to signify their vote and put it through the hole. The cover prevents the steward from seeing what color ball is placed into the hole. White marbles mean “yes;” black marbles mean “no.” When the votes are cast, the marbles in the rear section by the handle are counted to get the final tally.

If the vote on a new member has more black marbles than white, that individual is denied membership, hence the origin of the term “black balled.”

Many thanks to the following readers who identified Item No. 621:

Heather Knisley; Joe Betz, Library, Pa.; “Bergie” via e-mail (sorry, you didn’t send any other identification!); Dave Fast, Streetsboro, Ohio; Wendell Cole, Lisbon, Ohio; Richard Knotts, Flemington, W.Va.; John Hickerson, Malta, Ohio; Dave Mail, Severna Park, Md.; Ina Daniello, Hadley, Pa.

I’m sure there are still more answers coming in the mail!

We also received another correct guess on Item No. 620, the razor hone for a straight razor. This one came from Kenneth Hill, Louisville, Ohio.

Now, on to Item No. 622, shared by Ralph C. Moreland. It belonged to Moreland’s grandfather and has been in Ralph’s garage for 30+ years. It’s about 9 inches long, weighs about 1.25 pounds and is made out of cast brass.

If you know what it is used for, send your response to: Hazard a Guess, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or via e-mail to: editorial@farmanddairy.com.

Ralph Moreland can’t be the only one with whatsit items in his garage – do some digging and see if you have an item you think might stump readers in Hazard a Guess. Send a clear photograph (NO Polaroid photographs please!), detailed dimensions and description of the item’s use, to the address listed above.


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