Hello from Hazard!
Ahh, the trouble with “mystery” items is you just never know when to stop. We thought we closed the door on Item No. 657, with the best guess being a bee smoker, when along comes an e-mail from Kai Baumann this week that says it looks like a garden crop duster, similar to the one her grandmother used to use in her garden. How does the Court of Good Readers rule?
Item No. 658 also puzzled readers. “It could be a large dibble used to make holes to plant saplings,” says Mark Landis of Pittsburgh.
Then we received an e-mail from Don Miller of Mount Pleasant, Pa., which sounded pretty convincing. “I have two poles something like that, brought by a helper who worked on the railroad. They were used to jockey cars around… put the point under a wheel so the flat was against the wheel and push the car by lifting the handle. The small handle looks to be at the balance point for carrying.” Makes sense.
And from another Mount Pleasant, this one in Ohio, came an e-mail from Ben Primovic, who saw one of these poles one time. “I originally thought it was some type of battering ram for a fire department, but an old timer told me it was a post hole tamper.”
Primovic’s guess was seconded by George Wise of Wooster, Ohio, who also said Item No. 658 is a post hole digger. Wise’s grandfather had one.
Then we heard from an individual who bought the 6 1/2 pole at the Kiko auction where Harry Meyer Jr. had originally seen it and snapped a photo to send to Hazard. Dave Cover of Cortland, Ohio, agrees that it is a post hole maker. And he’s right, because he tells us the complete engraving on the handle reads: “Neffs Patented Post Digger… Bellaire, Oh.” Cover also graciously told us that each of the poles sold for $110.
He also adds that the thing weighs an estimated 75 pounds. I’d like to see the guy who could single-handedly use one to make a post hole!
On to Item No. 659, shared this week by long-time Hazard reader and contributor Russell May of Lowell, Ohio. Anyone care to Hazard a guess?
Send your answers to: Hazard a Guess, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have something you think could stump our panel of readers, send a clear 35mm photograph (no Polaroids, please), along with a complete description of the item’s dimensions and use, to the address listed above.
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