What are these tools for?
September 18, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Can you help identify what trade this toolkit is from, and what it is used for?
posted by Morsey to Technology (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, one of those things looks like a plumb-bob.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:31 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

What is the cylinder shaped object in front of the plumb-bob and the other smaller one behind the flathead screw driver/ pry tool thingy? Any other information?

Just based on the plumb bob it could be part of some kind of kit for surveying but I can't imaging what kind of surveying since it does not look like there are any bits for measuring like a compass, scale, etc.
posted by JayNolan at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2012

Small and portable makes me think it's something related to inspection, especially with the plumb bob and that brush in the rear.
posted by jquinby at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2012

I'd go with surveying. The wingnut might well have been used on a tripod (see this one)
posted by pipeski at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2012

This is a guess, I'd say it's a kit for a wallpaper-hanger. (Grand-dad was a paper-hanger-- and I don't mean counterfeiter.) That seems like a large plumb-bob for the job, but that wheely-thing on right could be an old paper-tiger, which can be used to release bubbles from behind paper or slice up old paper to make removal easier. If I had to guess at the function of the loop in the foreground, I'd say it would extend the hand and smoothly support wallpaper in one's hands, without letting the paper dent or crease.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:57 AM on September 18, 2012

Is the big wingnut held in place on the bottom plate of the case by a metal peg similar to the one visible in the back center? That might indicate that the kit is missing a component.
posted by contraption at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2012

The brush and the plum-bob lead me to think it might be for archaeological excavation, but that is just a wild guess.
posted by silvergoat at 10:28 AM on September 18, 2012

To me, it looks like a tool set for repointing mortar. The wingnut looks like a chuck, which might hold those two pick bits in the lower left of the back flap, though that's a stretch, I admit--it wouldn't be very ergonomic for scraping/gouging. Or, maybe those bits aren't picks, but depth gauges, to make sure the joint was evenly or sufficiently cleared. The brush is for clearing the debris out of the joint. The plumb bob is for checking the general soundness of the wall.

If there were a trowel anywhere in the picture, I'd be pretty confident, but...
posted by bricoleur at 11:40 AM on September 18, 2012

The foremost object looks like a screwdriver from a singer sewing machine kit. The brush looks a bit soft to be for cleaning lint out of a sewing machine though, and the rest is a mystery to me for this guess, unless a dressmaker would use a plumb-bob somehow....
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:42 AM on September 18, 2012

...although is that a tiny case for holding needles in the middle of the picture, next to the plumb bob?
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:43 AM on September 18, 2012

Do you have a picture of the outside/form factor of the case?

I'm willing to admit that question is a bit on the selfish side, it looks like an intriguging case design that's not completely unlike the singer sewing machine puzzlebox layout, if in leather instead of wood. It'd be cool to see another picture or two.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2012

I think RolandOfEid is on to something. Check out this listing.

Is it possible that both the plumb bob and the wing nut were not original to the kit, but were added later by somebody who thought they looked cool, or at least filled gaps left by missing parts?
posted by contraption at 12:15 PM on September 18, 2012

Is it possible that both the plumb bob and the wing nut were not original to the kit

Right, or the reverse could be true and we could be looking at an architectural/masonry/archaeological kit with a previous owner who stole the screwdriver and other parts from his wife's sewing machine...

I think we need more info.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2012

Thanks for all the ideas - I have managed to find another picture showing the outside. I have for the first time noticed the brackets on the bottom of the kit, which could be very relevant?

I don't actually have the kit so I can't investigate further tonight, but I might be able to get more information tomorrow.
posted by Morsey at 12:24 PM on September 18, 2012

On the surveying tip, the brush and picks might be for cleaning off long-neglected geological survey markers.
posted by contraption at 12:27 PM on September 18, 2012

Two things came to mind after seeing those brackets on the bottom of the case. One, to me those look like bicycle mounts, not so much horse or automobile necessarily, that's just a hunch though. Secondly, does the large wingnut that's visible inside the case act to tension the outside of the case such that it's more securely mounted? That large wingnut should be a dead giveaway and a tell for something but if it's just a pretension/quick-release device to keep the case itself from rattling off whatever it is mounted to then we can discard it from our considerations...
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2012

They'd also work well to attach the kit to one leg of a wooden surveying tripod.
posted by contraption at 1:13 PM on September 18, 2012

I'm wondering if it might be military related for an old black powder cannon perhaps. Vent picks and a pan brush, the plumb bob for aiming.

Wild speculation, but something else to look into maybe?
posted by Packed Lunch at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2012

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