Help identifying a mystery tool
July 21, 2019 5:41 PM   Subscribe

My grandmother-in-law found a tool in her late husband's stuff and she's curious what it is. I'm not a tool guy and have no idea. Two pictures here.
posted by Beardman to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it might be a cabinet foot? Maybe?
posted by humboldt32 at 7:14 PM on July 21, 2019

I was also going to say that this does not look like a tool. A cabinet foot seems like a good possibility.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:47 PM on July 21, 2019

the sub-Reddit "what is this thing" almost always gets a solution to inquiries like yours
posted by anadem at 8:29 PM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would also guess foot for a large fridge, cabinet, or other piece of sturdy equipment - it looks a lot like something you'd see in a restaurant kitchen appliance.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:17 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

What worries me about the idea of "foot for a large piece of equipment" is for example, when I look for "industrial refrigerator legs" I see that well nigh 100% of them are adjustable in height. If you have a leg and it is not adjustable, your equipment is going to be wobbly, guaranteed.

My (weak) guess is some kind of pull knob or control knob.

Why does it have that bit of foam rubber on the one metal shelf? One reason might be, if you are pushing the knob in to actuate something, that shelf comes in contact with the stop, and they wanted the stop at that point to have a bit of give to it.

Or perhaps you pull to actuate (like the old cigarette machines) against a spring, and then the spring returns it to position. So the foam rubber bit is to keep it from thumping too loudly when you release the knob and it's pulled back into position against the stop.

Does the knob on the bottom move or rotate at all?

Does the piece on the back slide up and down at all? It looks like it might.

Photos from more angles would be helpful.
posted by flug at 11:31 PM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

What does the back side look like? Does any part of it move? If it doesn't have moving parts I'd be less inclined to think it's a tool. An cabinet or appliance foot seems likely, with the protrusions at the top supporting the weight of a flat surface of some sort.
posted by Aleyn at 11:32 PM on July 21, 2019

Generally I’d think feet are not patented, and the patent claim supports a tool/button/knob. Lots of tools don’t have moving parts.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:54 AM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

What was it found with? What kind of work did he do?
posted by fritley at 6:02 AM on July 22, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks so far! Here's the other photos I took – one shows the back. I'm not there anymore so I can't test whether it moves, but it looks as though maybe the round bottom could slide up, to look at the back. It felt pretty sturdy though.

He just had a toolbox full of miscellany; he was an actor and a flight attendant.
posted by Beardman at 9:28 AM on July 22, 2019

It looks to me like it would fold up, like a jackknife. Still dunno what it is though.
posted by kate4914 at 9:33 AM on July 22, 2019

I keep thinking this is a punch of some sort--held between the first two fingers, with the knob pressed by the thumb so that part of the tool slides even with the stationary part. But put down my wild guess as a funky cork extractor.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2019

I'm liking the idea of a cigarette machine pull or similar.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2019

Especially given the update, a vending machine pull seems like a better guess.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:02 PM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was thinking it might be something functionally akin to a kneekicker. But for panels or boards.
So, the padded bit at the end goes against the board and the flat bit gets hit with a hammer.

So you can hammer something into place without directly hammering and damaging the work piece.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:01 AM on July 25, 2019

I don’t have a name, but I have tried to envision the function of this piece.

What I cannot tell from the pictures:
….… Can the three pieces somehow move lengthwise. If so how far?
… Is the round piece is securely fixed to the mostly flat piece?

…… From what I can tell from the pictures (which I will designate 1, 2,3,4) this mystery thing is formed from three pieces of metal.
From picture 1, the piece labeled made in Canada, pat pend with the bit of foam on one end I will call a double loop, sort of like a closed s-shape. When viewed from the side it has a triangle loop with the foam bit, a box shape on the other end. On the reverse side of this piece, the edges have been bent to form a slot and a slope which matches the box in height.
The second piece, shown in all photos is round and long with a wide flat end, and slots which appear to lock it into the “box” on the piece described above and a smaller “head” which appears to attach it to the third piece.
The third piece which is most visible in picture three appears to be a fairly flat piece with a triangle loop punched into one end. It seems to slip lengthwise into the slot described on piece #1. And on the opposite end from the triangle loop it has a small right angle bend with a hole that attaches to the round piece.
The flat bends on the two triangle loops (one with the foam pad) are two load bearing or pressing points.
As it is configured, it seems the function of the round piece is to allow the flat pieces to swivel.
By the manner in which the round piece seems to be locked in to the “box” by its slots and how piece #3 is held captive by the slots on piece #1, I cannot envision how lengthwise movement is possible for the flat pieces.
If indeed the round piece is fixed to a right angle bend at the end of piece #3, I don’t see how lengthwise movement is possible.
So the remaining possible action seems to be rotation around the axis of the round piece.
If the wider head of the round piece was slipped into an upside down U-shaped channel with lips, it could slide along and support something held captive by the two triangle loops, and allow whatever it was holding to rotate.

Feel free to correct my guesses as you pursue the history of this “tool”.
posted by tronec at 3:14 PM on July 25, 2019

« Older Best cancer doctors in San Francisco East Bay for...   |   Help me plan for fun weekend trip to Madison, WI Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.