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Tools and Hardware6022 of 9105Flax Scutcher (scutching tool)mystery tool (cast iron scissor like pliers)
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    Posted 7 years ago

    foundobjec…
    (3 items)

    Clamps to a table Marked A.Lafore & son Phila Pa.13.5" x 7.5" cast iron sheet metal may not be original.20 years ago an 85year old man gave this to me to find out what it is. still trying

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    Comments

    1. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      Is that a string coming out of the side?
      Can you add a picture showing the other side.
    2. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      There is a string I thought I posted the other side
    3. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      temporary clothesline reel??
    4. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 7 years ago
      So ya think it clamp on the top of a door and maybe an eyehook somewhere for the string and the knobs for hanging stuffffffffff on as well, Walks..........?
    5. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      Maybe you could steer your boat when you aren't doing laundry!
    6. AzTom AzTom, 7 years ago
      This is going to be a tough one. You can post two more photos of other angle that may help.

      I would remove that wing nut and look inside, has to be a clue somewhere. I agree that the metal side plate may not be original.
      The knobs have no purpose that I can see at this point.
    7. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      I love a mystery, but have too many at home right now. Will work on it though.
    8. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      There is a spool of string inside. maybe it is just a laundry line seems to heavy duty for that. the string does not play out easily.
    9. AzTom AzTom, 7 years ago
      I don't think it's a laundry line. It would need to be up about five feet for that and there would be limited places to use that type of clamp. The knobs would have no purpose.

      Seeing no way to wind up the reel of string, something had to have been altered or missing.

      Are you sure about the name. Maybe "A. LAFORE & SONS" ??
    10. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      I agree with you on all points Will google A. Lafore
    11. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      I have been searching Google for A Lafore, but no luck so far.
      The knobs must have a purpose as the finish is worn off of them.
    12. AzTom AzTom, 7 years ago
      I agree the knobs have a purpose, just not for a clothes line.

      I did a little search on A. Lafore & Sons and found a they were an importer of Human hair and that John A Lafore had several patents, but none like this one.

      You can post two more photos at no cost.
    13. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      I found A Lafore with patents for box making but nothing like this
    14. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      I did find an A Lafore listed in an early directory as a wig maker.
      I searched the patents with no luck, as this has no patent info we can assume that it wasn't or the patent rights had lapsed.
    15. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 7 years ago
      you didn't state if it had paten #'s on it and if you just google the #'s by them self .....
    16. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 7 years ago
      what about a butchers table and the string is for tying up the paper the butcher use when wrapping up meat with or a baker table to tying up boxes ..smiling
    17. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      The string does not play out well nor does it rewind
    18. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      Does the wing nut stop the drum from rotating.
      Can we see the inside?
    19. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      The wingnut is loose
    20. jacko66, 7 years ago
      are there any holes in the tops of the 4 knobs
    21. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      If I'm understanding this correctly, once assembled & the wing nut tightened the spool/lid should be stationary. The string should feed out as you turn the drum/knobs counterclockwise (as viewed in pic #3) & retract as you turn the drum/knobs clockwise.
    22. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      no holes
    23. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      Correct in your assumptions But it does not work that way
    24. walksoftly walksoftly, 7 years ago
      Can you elaborate?
    25. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      I cannot explain why the string does not play out or windup.Baffled
    26. surfdub66 surfdub66, 7 years ago
      It has a spool , a wheel that turns and clamps onto something so could it be something to do with fishing , like a crab pot lifter or net puller, theres no ratchet so free line ..thing is that cast would rust quickly!!
      The other thing maybe a table tennis net tightner but it looks a bit heavy,
      or cable puller ..
    27. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      Again the string does not play out well or wind up Baffled
    28. Kydur Kydur, 7 years ago
      I've done a bit of searching on this one as well, every way from Sunday and found nothing even close. Maybe it was a practical joke?

      Sounds like something I might consider doing when I'm 85 - create something in the machine shop from a bunch of pieces I have lying around and then on my deathbed give it to some young whippersnapper and confound them by telling them to go find out what it is on their newfangled internet - and die with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face!

      Are the knobs threaded into the main housing or are they attached with bolts, rivets, or is the entire assembly cast as a single piece?
    29. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      When I just saw this item again, a dormant or dying brain cell flashed an image to me. I have seen 1 of these & I think it was mounted on something on the porch of a real old wooden house. Maybe that cell will grasp for life again & share more of that image. Maybe on a shutter.
    30. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      The spool holder is one casting with the japanning and guilded surfaces intact.
      Thanks to all for trying keep it up
    31. Kydur Kydur, 7 years ago
      Some Observations Without Solutions:

      In an effort to try and narrow down what this could be - and perhaps trigger some brain synapses in blunderbusses wayward brain cell - I decided to compile my observations and put them out there. Some will be obvious and others may cause an "eureka!" moment for those still working on this mystery. I also had my own eureka moment after typing all of this out, so you may just want to skip to the last paragraph at the bottom!

      1. The one-piece cast metal (iron?) tends to rule out some machine shop apprentice training exercise to develop the skill of attaching knobs to hubs!

      2. This appears to be a very heavy-duty piece of equipment that is relatively small (7.5" diameter from knob to knob?), which implies it's for some heavy (high torque) use - and not for winding kite string or storing last year's strands of Christmas tree tinsel - but obviously not so heavy-duty as to secure a boat to a dock either. Yet the thumbscrew method for clamping the bracket to a surface seems disproportionally weak relative to the rest of the construction.

      3. It's probably not used to wind the cord (but see item #5) as there's no mechanism to draw the cord back onto the inside reel, and there's nothing on the rim of the hub to keep the cord secure if it were to be wound externally.

      4. It's possible the cord could be reeled off the inner spool through the hole (if it were cleaned and lubricated and the cord were wound more uniformly) but there is no locking assembly to prevent all of the cord reeling out.

      5. If the cord was reeled out it could be rewound back onto the hub by weaving it between the knobs as the assembly was turned (but this poses a problem as outlined in item #9). This would account for the (hand) wear on the knobs but you'd think there would also be some wear at the base of the knobs (where they attach to the hub) due to the friction of the cord. The concave shape of the knob shafts would certainly lend themselves well to having the cord wrapped around them in this fashion and would prevent the cord from binding. They remind me of boat dock tie-up cleats in this respect.

      6. If the device was spun real fast you would think the cord would snake itself out, much in the same way that modern weed eaters (weed whackers) spool out their plastic/vinyl cord.

      7. If the device is used to attach the cord to something and then wind it back in as per method #5, there's no ratchet or locking device to prevent the loss of tension once you let go of the wheel. This tends to rule out any purpose of the device to maintain permanent tension - the tension only exists while the operator is applying it.

      8. The slight angle in the clamp mounting bracket means that the device would not be perpendicular to the clamping surface - it would be leaning towards the operator - therefore this seems to preclude the cord going upwards since the logical position of the device would tend to be a perpendicular (to the table) destination for the other end of the cord. I may be overshooting some presumptions there!

      9. If we presume there's going to be some tension on the cord then the design of the clamp dictates its strongest holding position will favour the cord going upward (negating item #8); or perpendicular to the wheel - outward in the opposite direction from the operator (negating item #5); or downward, which would be a clumsy proposition given the proximity of the clamping surface (except that maybe it's not clamped to a table but rather to a bar in which case downward is an option). The absolutely WORST direction that tension could be applied is laterally to the left/right of the wheel (again negating item #5).

      10. It's possible the cord could be reeled back in onto the hub by weaving between the knobs (as per item #5) from a destination in front of the operator - perpendicular to the wheel - this would also allow the tension to be maintained once the wheel was released, would maintain the best support from the bracket, and even account for the bracket angle pulling away from the direction of force, but it seems like a rather clumsy design if the intention is to easily reel something in or out.

      11. As a variation on item #10, if the cord was reeled back in on the bracket side of the knobs (the side facing the operator) then no weaving between the knobs would be required. Either way though, it would be a two-handed process to wind the cord around the knobs and not very efficient or practical.

      12. In the 3rd photo it appears that the paint (japanning) is worn on the hub between the knobs but not around the base of the knobs themselves. Perhaps 'foundobjectsofindustry' could confirm whether this is consistent between all the knobs or just the side where the hole is? If the wear is caused by the cord then this would imply that the tension of the cord is evenly distributed on both the front/back side of the hole and should cause a V-shape outward from the hole towards each knob. What sort of wear accounts for the rectangular shape around the hole?

      Did any of this help or just make things more cloudy?

      My EUREKA moment: Hey, maybe it's not some heavy-duty device afterall; and maybe it's not clamped to a table and positioned vertically... maybe it's just a clamp-on spinner toy for a baby carriage or crib (clamped and positioned horizontally) that dangles a mobile or airplanes or little birdies or something looped over the knobs! Maybe the cord is just a pull-cord that wound a (now missing) internal spring that caused the thing to spin around on its own for awhile? I'd be most curious to know what's under all that cord. Maybe there's a length of wound spring steel under there that connects to the spindle of the hub - identical to the way a modern tape measure works - with the cord being the equivalent of pulling out the tape which then retracts when releases; except in this case the retraction would cause the hub to spin.
    32. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      There is no wear on the base of the knobs and the hole is round where the string comes out. When clamped to a table it is at a slight angle to the surface.
      Thanks for all the thought
      Len
    33. foundobjectsofindustry foundobjectsofindustry, 7 years ago
      There is no spring inside the spool.You can see the brass shaft that the spool rotates on indicating that it should spin without wear
    34. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      The image my dyfunctional brain cell showed was mounted in the vertical.

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