Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Well, I Don't Know, Do You?

Recommended Posts

This item has been sitting in our workshop literally for decades.

No one knows what it is, what it is from, what does (gathers dust well, makes for a very sore big toe) or was used for. We just don't know!

Can you help with some info please?

Has a mounting lug at what is presumably the bottom, stands about 3'6" tall, about 20" wide and 6" thick with radiused holes in it as shown in the picture.

Thanks in advance,

Jim Deering.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. I take it the long dimension is left to right in the pic? Is every hole a different diameter like they look and are all the (swage?) looking features a different size as well?

It looks to be some sort of bottom die or swage block though the rectangular ear/mounting lug looks like an odd way to attach or mount the thing. I can't think of anything else to do with it though.

Were the holes and (swage?) features uniform sizes I'd be thinking of some sort of cable or rope cleat thingy. Without the (swage?) features I'd believe a drawing die. I can't imagine what the (Swagey?) parts would do in that use though.

I don't know what the heck it is but I'm going to be keeping my eyes open on the ridiculously silly chance I find one up here. It'd look GREAT in the shop. Even if I can't think of a thing to do with it. If it were mine it'd be a swage block, great for spoons, bowls, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh come now Frosty, it's obvious that's an all purpose universal trailer hitch adapter. You just plug that into the receiver hitch on the truck and you can use what ever size diameter shank tow ball you have!  Now you never have to worry if the shank of the trailer ball you just bought will fit the hitch adapter you have.   :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first thought is that it is a swage block, but that it is mounted horizontally in a slot like a jewelers bench pin.

But that may be the lack of coffee yet this morning. Gotta go, the pot just beeped. Yayyy!

Back again, and Frosty's suggestion of some sort of upright drawing die may be on the mark. The edges of the holes are well radiused with no chipping, so I imagine that it would work to smooth cable splices

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings Jim,

        Just my SWAG ..   It may be some sort of a cable guide used for pulling cable off a big spool or hooked to a fixture to guide it . I don't think it was ever used in a BS shop.. You might try my trick on unknown objects . Take it to a tractor show and just set it on ground and some good ol boy will come up with the answer. You could use it to bend round stock 90 degrees without a sharp inside corner bend. 

Forge on and make beautiful things


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gday all,

The lug is the "bottom" as far as we can tell. Sorry, I should have turned the image around before I posted it...

Yes, looks like a Christmas tree if it were what we think is the "right" way up. Too heavy to stand up solo - if I tried my guts would look like it does, full of odd-shaped holes! Now to forge up some deer...

The numbers are out inventory ID, which tells us nothing about its original use, source or anything else remotely useful in finding out what the thing was used for.

We have arrived at much the same conclusions offered to date; cable/rope guide, maritime device for handling ropes at some stage in their manufacture or the like. The curvy outer profile may have had something wrapped about it, but it might also have been to distribute stresses generated during use as uniform as possible.

www.abavic.org.au is our Association's website, here in the land of Oz, for anyone interested in a look. Please do not turn your computer screen upsidedown; the site is made the wrong way up, just for you in the northern half... ;)

Please keep the ideas coming. If by chance we stumble over the solution, it will put to rest some inquisitive minds.

Jim Deering


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I've done a fair bit of research on rope making including watching a ridiculously dull hour long documentary that started at gathering the fibers and finished with a rope as big around as a VW camper van. I'm pretty sure the only thing a rope maker (the old world name escapes me) could use that for would be sorting finished rope by sizes. Very interesting piece of history whatever it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, John McPherson said:

I think the term you are looking for is 'Cordwainer'. Mile long 'rope walks' were common in port cities where ships were outfitted and refitted.

As Boy Scouts in another era, we used to make rope with simple (and some not so simple) machines.

Cordwainer! That was it. I bet those folks had legs like tree trunks! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A cordwainer is defined as a maker of shoes. A cobbler is a repairer of shoes. These definitions are now becoming obscure, and started to become so when shoemaking shifted to factories. The name for a rope maker is "rope maker". The old French term for such an artisan was cordeur Hence the confusion for cordwainer.

Just saying.


Edited by SLAG
added more bumpff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to confuse people further:  Cordwainer Smith  was the pen-name used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913 – August 6, 1966) for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a noted East Asia scholar and expert in psychological warfare. (wiki)

He wrote rather odd Science Fiction that few people have read nowadays. , Not a lot of it as he was extremely busy as a section chief in the OSS; Professor, adviser to JFK, etc  another polymath like Weygers...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...