Revisiting an old Hazard a Guess Mystery


Hello from Hazard!
After our deadline last week, Kenny Simballa, of Lisbon, Ohio, stopped by the office to also identify Item No. 1070, which stumped you all for a couple weeks until last week. It’s used to make a picket fence, as John Miller first identified last week, and Simballa can concur.
He saw one at an auction a long time ago, and as he stood looking at it, trying to figure out its use, an “old timer” picked it up and told him, showing how it worked.
Our thanks to the diligent readers who hate to leave a mystery Hazard unsolved!

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Last week, we first showed you Item No. 1071, submitted by Pat and Rocky Rossini. The item, about 3 feet long, is on display at Metro Parks in Olmsted Falls, but they don’t know what it is.
We haven’t heard from anyone, and we hate to disappoint the park! Do you know what it is or how it was used?
Email your responses to; or respond by mail to: Hazard a Guess, c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.

And some mysteries take longer than others to be solved, like more than six years.
On Dec. 30, we received an email that started, “Back in 2010, I sent a photo of a tool that I could not identify…”
We printed it in Hazard a Guess, as Item No. 896, to be exact, but readers didn’t know how it was used either.
Here’s how we described it back in 2010: “The cast iron clamp-like tool measures 6-5/8 inches closed and 12-3/8 inches fully extended. It has two prongs 1-1/2 inches tall, one is claw-like and the other solid, with a slight concave surface. The lever closes with a 180-degree rotation onto a threaded surface anywhere along the traveler, tightening the clamp by one-eighths of an inch. There’s writing on the casting, ‘E.E. Josef Buffalo N.Y. Pat. Apr — (date unreadable)’.”
But owner David Hodges, of Westerville, Ohio, persevered, and finally has the answer.
He was visiting an antique mall in Columbus, and saw “a similar, but much more refined tool made at a Cleveland forge. On the tool was written ‘molders clamp.’ With this clue, I searched the internet and found the tool I have.
“It is a Cast Iron Bar Clamp for Molders Flasks, made around 1908. It was used in multiples to hold (probably wooden) molds together for moving and pouring.
I still don’t know what the molds were used to make, perhaps plaster, wax, or maybe ceramic items.”
“So, several years after appearing in the Farm and Dairy, the E.E. Josef casting from Buffalo, N.Y. is finally solved.”
We show the original Item No. 896 here again, A mystery no longer! What a great way to start the new year! Thanks, David Hodges, for sharing your find — both in 2010 and in 2016!

To learn more about these clamps, look at our very own Rusty Iron’s article, here.

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