what's this number 12 rope tool

We received a variety of ideas and thoughts on the most recent “What’s This?” photo. Most were tied into rope and how rope is used. The interesting thing is most seemed reasonable.

Thanks to all who responded about the rope tool. Here they are.

The “What’s This?” picture is the end of a sling used to lift loose hay into the barn. A sling is four ropes; each rope was put through one of the holes pictured on this item and knotted. The sling was placed under loose hay in the hay rack. The hook pictured on this item went on the latch. As the hay was lifted (with horses or a tractor), the sling gathered together and the hay was lifted into the loft. When you wanted to release the hay in a certain place in the hay loft, a person outside by the hay rack pulled on the rope which released the latch and the sling swung out and the hay was released and fell down. Allan H. Rastede, Allen, Neb.

I believe this is a tool rather than a weapon. Three fingers would fit into the lower three holes in the picture with the fourth hole toward the palm of your hand, but why would the fourth hole be unusable instead of being placed where your fourth finger could fit into it? Or three fingers would fit into the upper three holes in the picture, but then your hand is covering the hook, so what use is the hook? Also, as a weapon the hook would be open so you could do far more damage than you could with this closed hook. It looks more the hook is intended to hold something (a rope?) in the wider part of the opening. And the holes could be for threading something through (a rope?) so you could easily secure it tightly because it overlaps itself. My guess is that it is for pulling something or holding something. So what would that be? I’m not a farmer so I will leave that question for a farmer. Ed Howard, Crete, Neb.

It’s for a sling with rope to take hay into the barn. Don Albers, Pawnee City, Neb.

I think the device went on the end of a harness line with the holes allowing the line to be adjusted for proper tightness. Dan Falen, Hope, Kan.

It is a tool used by vets. You thread rope through the holes to change the length of the rope to go around an animal’s neck. The hook goes through a ring. To wrap around the body of an animal to pull it down. Dick Schweers, Ponca, Neb.

I am not a farmer (actually a publisher) but I’ve worked with farmers all my long life and I believe the photo is a hay bale hook. (Back before bales were round and weighed 1,000 pounds!) Four fingers through the holes and the hook would catch the bale twine to help hoist it onto the flatbed or wagon, or out again. Gregg Knowles, Carroll, Iowa

I believe that it’s used to gather the reins of two teams of horses, to pull farm tillage equipment. Craig Smith, Fremont, Neb.

I think it may have been used when making rope. Mitch Coffin, Lincoln, Neb.

My guess would be a homemade calf pulling hook. Makes sense with the hook for the chain and the holes to grab ahold to it. Ryan Stamm, Smith Center, Kan.

It looks like a piece that could be part of the barn hay loft hay sling where several ropes passed through to hold it all together. Ken Enns, Inman, Kan.