What's This for Feb. 14, 2019

Paul D. Longfellow of Lenox, Iowa, says he found a piece of metal in a farm field, but has no idea what it is or what it was used for.

Email a guess to agriview@madison.com with your name, address and phone number.

Editor’s note: Please do not put answers on our Facebook page; we want everyone to have fun guessing.

In our feature “What’s This?” we share a photo of an old or odd agriculture-related piece — or from an old farm home. Maybe we know what it is and maybe we don’t.

Either way we want our readers to tell us what it is. Email answers to agriview@madison.com with a best guess — one guess per email. Please include name, address and phone. We’ll draw a name at random — from those submitted with correct answers — to award a prize.

And we want our readers to submit photos of mysterious things found in the shop or old corn crib or attic — or basement.

Email photos to agriview@madison.com" target="_blank">agriview@madison.com as jpg attachments, at least .3M or 300k in size, with “What’s This” in the subject line of the email. Please include name, address, phone and where the item was found. We’ll draw a name at random from those submitting photos to award a prize.

Email agriview@madison.com with questions.

Our previous “unknown” piece of equipment, published online and in the Jan. 31 issue of Agri-View is still a mystery. Several of Agri-View’s sister publications did receive guesses, but no definite answer was established.

Manny Bartek of Lincoln, Nebraska, said, “I can’t see all the details that I could positively state that this is a ‘blasting wedge.’ Before the advent of firewood power splitters, a blasting wedge was made to drive into a large and long log. After the wedge was embedded, black gun powder — blasting powder — was poured into the center hole. Ignited by use of a fuse, the wedge split the entire length of wood into a more manageable size for cutting. A second attempt was used to further downsize the diameter of log. This type of wedge didn’t split the log, but the explosion of the powder did. To prevent the wedge from blasting away as a rocket, some manufactures attached a chain to wrap around the log to secure the wedge to the log after it blasted. Common practice usually had the operator roll the log over so it would face down into ground and other logs placed over it as a safety measure.”

Roger Tacey said, “It appears to be a power wedge although the hole in the end seems a bit shallow. You drove the wedge into a log with a hammer, filled the hole with black powder. When ignition occurred the wedge was propelled forward through the log. You can split large trees with one of these.”