Identify This Thing
April 26, 2015 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Hello! My mother recently started going through old things she has of the potentially-heirloom variety. This has also revealed some generally old, bizarre things that were passed down that have not been identified. So, people of Metafilter, what is this? Current guess is that it's somehow related to candles? Maybe? Any guesses are welcome.
posted by daikaisho to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Since you said any guesses are welcome...

First, a reverse Google image search didn't really turn anything up.

My initial guess is an antique leatherworking tool of unknown purpose (based on the hammer-like head), but metal hammers are less common or ideal for leatherwork. Also, the item seems a bit ornate for such utilitarian purpose. (Am I correct that the bent end of the object is solid, not hollow like a candle snuffer? I can't tell from the pictures.)

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if someone who was learning or experimenting with metalsmithing decided to take a butter knife, bend the handle, and then cut a chip into the knife edge itself.
posted by nightrecordings at 11:54 AM on April 26, 2015

Is the notch in the blade part sharp? Would it be used for trimming wicks?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:56 AM on April 26, 2015

If you set it on the flared part of the handle, does it stand upon its own? So that the long blade like part is parallel to the ground, with the notch facing down?
posted by Adridne at 11:59 AM on April 26, 2015

You could try asking the subreddit whatisthisthing.
posted by Snazzy67 at 12:07 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I did not know there was an entire subreddit devoted to this sort of thing. Awesome!

As to the other questions:

Yes, the handle is solid.
Yes, the notch is (relatively) sharp.
Yes, it does stand on its own.
posted by daikaisho at 12:14 PM on April 26, 2015

A paperweight/letter opener?
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:28 PM on April 26, 2015

It looks like one side of the blade part has writing on it- a patent number? What does it say?
In the photo it looks like it might be "PAT'D 18797". Is that right?
posted by Adridne at 12:41 PM on April 26, 2015

How big is it? About the size of a butter knife?
posted by merejane at 12:45 PM on April 26, 2015

Response by poster: It's a little larger than a butter knife - which is to say it is about that size, but the blade is long for that purpose.

And almost yes! It says "PAT'D 12.7.97"
posted by daikaisho at 12:59 PM on April 26, 2015

Best answer: It's a cigar box opener & hammer.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:05 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Sweet! Thank you, everyone, this has made our day. :D
posted by daikaisho at 1:08 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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