When Gerard Weber of Princeton, Kan., sent in the photo of his “What’s This?” mystery item, it was a mystery to him, too.
There was metal, wood, screws, an oval hole, what looked like a thin piece of tin. But no idea what it was. The thought that it wasn’t likely formed by the need or imagination of a single farmer prompted hope that it was more common than it could have been.
Still, it wasn’t a sure thing that it was even from a farm.
But apparently it is.
Responses did not fill up my inbox, as is sometimes the case. But there were enough leaning toward one direction to make us feel like we really had “a thing.”
“The object … is a clamp for the bowls/discs of a cream separator,” wrote Harlan Holste, a reader from Ludell, Kan. “Ours is mounted to the wall just to the side of the separator for convenience. You set the whole assembly into the ring and as you tighten the nut it slides sideways and the ring grasps the base. After you are done separating cream you put it back in the ring and loosen the nut so you can disassemble it for cleaning. It works just as an oil filter wrench.”
“It is a base for a cream separator,” said Sam Kleinsasser from Cutbank, Mont.
“I believe the object is a bowl holder strap vise for a De Laval cream separator,” offered David Girodat from Hannah N.D.
A cream separator? Really? When was the last time you saw one of those? Well, other than some resourceful person turning the big bowl into an impromptu flower pot.
One of the enjoyable parts of the “What’s This?” feature is the imagination in the responses. It’s also good to see that the woes of the world are getting solved while mugs of coffee are consumed around café tables. But there’s still time to consider the important things in life.
One such group gathers in Logan, Iowa, and Melvin Sporrer from Portsmouth, Iowa, faithfully reports the “What’s This?” thoughts of the day. He says savvy 89-year-old Kenny Leonard thought the current mystery item could be part of a brake assembly for a clutch, a transmission or maybe the governor on a steam engine.
Well, “Why Not?”