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Rare Photographic Accessory, late 1880s to 90s

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Belltown's loves516 of 1093Unusual MaulHebrew or Yiddish Typewriter
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    Posted 5 years ago

    rniederman
    (307 items)

    Let’s have some fun - can you guess what this is? Shown here is an extremely rare photographic accessory; I am aware of only one other in a collection. It is the size and shape of a sewing thimble with an open end and a sharp, spiky thing. It is satin finished metal and well made.

    Anyone who guesses correctly will have my admiration and that of your CW peers. Otherwise, I’ll reveal its identity in a week or so.

    PS: Wild comical speculation is always welcome!

    ************

    It took just a bit over two days for CW crowd to figure this out. Pretty good!

    Comments

    1. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      For separating glass plates/negatives.
    2. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 5 years ago
      for poking myself in the eye everytime i leave the lenscap on?
    3. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      It was used by celebrities to keep the first paparazzi at bay.
    4. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 5 years ago
      Very interesting. I have seen quite similar but never associated with photography. I will learn from this one.
    5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Negative Picking?
    6. Jewels Jewels, 5 years ago
      Could it be used to crank or wind something in a convenient and hands free way?
    7. Windwalker, 5 years ago
      for undoing thread ...lol
    8. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 5 years ago
      I came back to mark this so I get email updates. I can't wait to hear how you authenticated it for being used in photographic applications. Please keep us informed as the game goes on.
    9. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Some really funny comments. One person is really close. Keep 'em coming!

      fhrjr2 ... I have original advertising and will add to this post later on. In 1888 this was listed for 15 cents (about $3.83 adjusted for 2013).
    10. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Something you don't want to forget you have on your finger when you pick your nose, scratch your eye or have a BM.
    11. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      Photographer's mustache twirler prior to the saucy sitting.
    12. Bootson Bootson, 5 years ago
      Grandma's "attack thimble"
    13. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      This is very interesting!!! Is there any way we can see more opposite views ?
    14. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      A nose picker!!
    15. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      A finger nail cleaner?
    16. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      A Schmilblick! An early circumcision tool (Woody Allen's ?)
    17. musikchoo musikchoo, 5 years ago
      Used for adjustment to Lens.
    18. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      New image posted showing the opposite side.

      Great comments ... the CW folks never disappoint!
    19. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Thankyou for extra picture Rob!! im thinking now used for snuff . Tobacco.
    20. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      I know! There was 10 of them! Part of the outfit of this strange creature :

      http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/133969-fetish-mask-with-working-zipper--don-po?in=loved-by-kyratango
    21. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      LOL!!!!
    22. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      Young Joan Collin's thimble?
    23. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 5 years ago
      This has my attention and I can't wait to see the advertisement. I do not for a moment doubt the age. I still have all my great grandfathers thimbles and he was no photographer. I am waiting to see how he improvised by using one of these. The ones with cross cut saw blades were easy to identify. This one is a bit more unique.
    24. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      You sure want to remember you have it in your finger!!
    25. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Could use for the rotary telephone to dial!!
    26. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Maybe a letter opener?
    27. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      I have to agree with 2 comments , it may be was used so they would not get finger prints on the negatives .
    28. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Sa wha, Eye4?!! Only 1 other thing I can think of other than a finger, -- & way,way,way too small!! Maybe it was custom made for the user & feel sorry for him.
    29. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Eye4, I think a vibrator is automatically eliminated!! LOL
    30. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Eye4, I sure don't think any girl I've been with would like that!! Well, maybe one!
    31. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Lol!!! BB2:)
    32. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      I'm just "toying" with you eye4. Thought you knew me by now?
    33. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Maybe a BB2 Jr.! There's a story behind that eye4, best left alone.
    34. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 5 years ago
      Mmm... primitive photoshop device?
    35. Windwalker, 5 years ago
      second choice ..would be..etching the negatives with info.. or dates ..that's it for me ..
    36. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 5 years ago
      for inserting contact lenses?

      [that's to get us back on a lighter note!]
    37. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Hi eye ... it is meant to be on a finger as shown.

      New clue ... it is a photography accessory but not directly used on a camera.

      PS ... I really like some of the creative uses. And, some of the guesses are really close!
    38. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      is it a lens tightener , like screw driver?
    39. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Hi ho2cultcha ... I think your "for poking myself in the eye everytime i leave the lenscap on?" is very funny! As a former freelance photographer, that hits home.
    40. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Clue ... eye, vetraio50 and David are (or were) on the right track.
    41. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Okay ... eye is as close as anyone is going to get unless you are deep into 1880s negative processing. David's first comment just about nailed it. vetraio50 and Sean (#29) get props as well. So, so close.

      And there was deception in the way I photographed the position of my hand. In use, "The Efficient Plate Lifter" does exactly what its name says. The tip is meant to lift a glass plate out of a chemical tray. Everyone was thinking films but not glass plates. Also, only one plate at a time was developed. That means the tip curls upward to lift a plate.

      The actual emulsion (negative) would not get scratched because it is facing upward in the developing tray. Otherwise it would scratch on the tray itself. So the only thing that is touched by the Efficient Lifter is the glass itself. The reason for this (and there were other plate grapping devices sold at the time) is that some forms of chemistry were very toxic but often discolored nails and fingers.

      eye’s last guess was excellent. Pure rubber finger tips were also advertised in the 1888 catalogue ... a set of three cost 15 cents.

      I'll post the advert in just a bit ... actually the whole page because it shows other plate lifting devices.
    42. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Mnay thanks Rob the great mystery and the fun as well !! this is great , I hope to sse more postings like this in the future!!!!
    43. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Drum roll please ... here is the advertisement. It is a scan from an 1888 W.D. Gatchell (Louisville, KY) photography catalogue. Fully illustrated and described! I posted the full page so that there is no question about attribution. Then again, look at the other cool stuff.

      As always, thanks for playing and the terrific guesses. All are great!
    44. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Of course I knew that all along & just wondering if anybody else would know. LOL! Actually rniedman, I was just about to say that eye4 had it right. I too was thinking film. So my suggestions weren't even close, - but had fun with it!! Thanks for the puzzle. Looks like it may be homemade from a sewing spindle. Fun poste.
    45. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      very cool that I see that Wedgwood made mortars and Pestels!!
    46. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Sean ... good catch ... maybe I'm too focused on cameras (pun intended) and should look more closely at the other goodies. Most of these early catalogues also show studio props you see in many of the pictures posted on Show & Tell.

      Thanks, eye.
    47. pops52 pops52, 5 years ago
      I could have used this to scratch my head trying to figure this out. Nice one rniederman. Its amazing what you could get for fifteen cents back in the day!
    48. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, BB2!
    49. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Your very welcome Rob :) im so glad you had posted the advert to this!! ;0
    50. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, pops52!

      Ohhhh ... BTW ... the collodion bottles shown in the upper left are extremely rare - specifically the 'Cometless' model. Keep an eye out!!!
    51. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      My first thought was of glass negatives & how difficult they would be to separate if like the advertisement said you where developing a number of them at once.
      It would give you the power & dexterity to do the job.
      I did a lot of searching for info on developing but got no where, I guess I should have asked an expert!
      Excellent post!
    52. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, David. I was shocked how close you were right out of the gate ... well done.
    53. Windwalker, 5 years ago
      this was a good ...............'-)
    54. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks geo26e, kyratango, racer4four, Ben, aghcollect, and Radegunder!
    55. Jewels Jewels, 5 years ago
      Okay, makes sense! Thanks!
    56. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      eye ... Thanks for checking. I suspect there are 'plate lifters' in thimble collections because, unless you have the advertising, who would think it was a specialized photographic accessory? I certainly would have thought it was a thimble if it wasn't for the photo catalogue reference. Maybe this post will inspire collectors to check other thimble collections.
    57. musikchoo musikchoo, 5 years ago
      I enjoyed the ride rniederman. I always like a Mystery. I hope we have more in the future They always keep everyone interested!!
    58. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, musikchoo! I have one or two more antique photography items that will make fun mystery posts.
    59. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      GREAT posting-- I missed the start and enjoyed reading through it.

      thanks for sharing.

      scott
    60. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Bring them on mon! That was a fun one.
    61. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      Great post, fun and education together, MORE PLEASE!
    62. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks Scott, blunderbuss2 and kyratango!
    63. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks everyone for the 'loves' and playing along!
    64. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, toolate2 and AzTom!
    65. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Manikin!
    66. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 5 years ago
      this was a fun guessing game! thanks rniederman!
    67. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, ho2cultcha!
    68. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, surfdub66!
    69. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, antiquerose and hotairfan!

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