Hello from Hazard!
You were quick to respond on Item No. 1195.
William Reep, Sharon Center, Ohio, said this is most likely a cobbler tool to stretch the leather on a shoe or boot so it doesn’t irritate any areas of the foot.
Randy Winland, Prospect, Ohio; James Roloson, Columbus; Deb Mangelsdorf, Manhattan, Kansas; and Roseann Harbage also agree it is a tool used by cobblers for people who have bunions. The shoe leather was dampened after which this tool was used to create a bulge in the appropriate location in the shoe by squeezing the leather between the hole and the ball in a manner similar to putting something between plier jaws. After the leather dried, the bulge remained which provided a space that would not rub the bunion. There are different versions of the tool with some having a hook and latch mechanism at the end of the handles to hold the leather in place as it dried.
Roloson was a shoe buyer at Columbus shoe store, retired for 30 years, and he used this tool to make shoes comfortable for the customers.
John Rhoades, of Kent, Ohio, submitted the item. While plowing through all the junk at the Hartville Flea Market on Labor Day, he stumbled across this apparatus for sale by one of the vendors. It is made of iron and is about 16 inches long. The only words on it were “GIANT,” which you can also see in the photo.
Item No. 1196 comes to us from the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. We know what it is, do you?
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