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Mystery Tool
May 11, 2006 11:09 PM   Subscribe

Do you know what this tool is?

A coworker asked me to post this question. He has had this tool for years and has never been able to figure out its name or intended purpose. He found the tool in his father's toolbox (presumably while cleaning out his father's house after the father's death)- my coworker is in his 60s, so our best guess is that the tool is at least as old as he is.

The tool is pretty little, about 7 inches tall. There are no marks on it-- no name or anything. It's made of a very shiny silvery "greasy" pot metal (the pinkish cast in the photo is from the orange walls of my office.)

For those of you who can't see the photo:
The tool is made of one solid piece of metal shaped like a rectangle on a stick-- protruding from one side of the rectangle is what I would describe as a hammer snout, and from the other is a conical spike. The rectangle has a trapezoidal cutout that looks like it could be used to open bottles (my coworker says he has never tried this.) The handle of the tool has a "waist" at the bottom, making there appear to be an additional hammer snout at the end of the handle.
The most wear is on the pounding-surface of the top hammer, and there are cracks in the narrow part connecting it to the rectangle. The cone is a bit flattened at the tip, as if someone had been hammering with it as well. There is no wear on the hammer shape at the end of the handle, and minimal wear to the bottle-opener cutout.
posted by hyperfascinated to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
 
Maybe a smaller version of this autobody hammer (note that this is not the original handle)? I would say that there is no wear on the hammer shape at the end of the handle on your tool because it's there to facilitate hanging on a board.
posted by tellurian at 11:33 PM on May 11, 2006


I certainly don't know what this is; my guess was a small tack-hammer or some kind of rivet hammer. But I suspect that the ridge at the end of the handle is just a decorative flourish, perhaps to add a little tactile feedback when the hand gets near the end. The cutout too looks like it's just to reduce the total weight of the tool, not for any specific functional purpose.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:43 PM on May 11, 2006


I think Rhomboid has it. Here's a modern day rivet hammer.
posted by tellurian at 12:02 AM on May 12, 2006


My money would be on it being just what you've described: a bottle opener/hammer. The hammer ends and spike are for crushing ice. Along the same line as this.
posted by team lowkey at 12:04 AM on May 12, 2006


I think it is a bottle opener toffee hammer.

Check out these images.

google image search

from collectible bottle opener site
(from this page)

On preview: maybe an ice hammer
posted by lobakgo at 12:13 AM on May 12, 2006


It looks remarkably similar to this gas shutoff wrench:
posted by dkippe at 2:48 AM on May 12, 2006


lobakgo's answer was my first guess also. Did the dad have a taste for toffee?
posted by biffa at 3:03 AM on May 12, 2006


I bet these people will know. (see number 5 on this page.) Beverage ice hammer sure does seem right.
posted by taz at 3:11 AM on May 12, 2006


I think it looks more like a gas shutoff wrench. Perhaps an early model?
posted by Jesco at 3:56 AM on May 12, 2006


Well, if it was a beverage ice hammer your friend's father misused it. 1) Ice wouldn't have caused that sort of damage to the head, and 2) He wouldn't have kept it in his toolbox, it would have been in the kitchen drawer.
posted by tellurian at 6:09 AM on May 12, 2006


The guy who runs this blog might know, or be able to help you figure it out.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:56 AM on May 12, 2006


Send a question to the guys at "Ask This Old House".
posted by achmorrison at 9:52 AM on May 12, 2006


That fireman's tools does seem like a good match as well. This thing would be good for breaking windows. But that doesn't explain the bottom of the handle. Tools tend not to have decorative flourishes. There's a reason for every cut. That prybar on the bottom of the shutoff wrench makes a lot more sense.

Honestly, it could be a rivet hammer or a gas shutoff wrench, but not a very well designed one. It looks like it was designed around that rectangle cut-out, so I think that's its primary function. It doesn't make sense to add it otherwise. Those weak rounded edges just wouldn't serve any heavy-duty purpose well. The bottom of the handle has been specifically molded, but doesn't serve any useful function. Unless it is for crushing ice. And bar tools have a history of mixed functions, where garage tools are usually designed to do one job well. I think his father was using it wrong.
posted by team lowkey at 12:19 PM on May 12, 2006


Here's another ice hammer/bottle opener combo.
posted by lobakgo at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2006


The handle side of the head's central rectangular opening is pinched in, so I'm going to say ice hammer/bottle opener too. Other than the pinched/tapered part, the rectangular opening doesn't really seem that much like a bottle opener, but..
posted by Chuckles at 2:30 PM on May 12, 2006


I think it's an old- fashioned upholsterer's tool- the two ends are for nails and rivets and the cutout bit in the middle is for stretching webbing.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:12 PM on May 12, 2006


Pictures of modern-day tools- there's a webbing stretcher at the bottom of the page.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:14 PM on May 12, 2006


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