Friday, September 19, 2014

Stretching for an Answer?

For what was this week's mystery artifact used?

Carol R. guessed:

"Based on what appears to be a ratcheting bar that extends the 2 prongs forward, or brings them closer to the saw bladed arm behind it, I'm guessing that the tool either stretches something or pries two things apart. Since the points on the blade face forward, the tool was more likely used to stretch something by digging the saw bladed points into something, then putting the prong end just in front of the saw bladed bar, then using the handle to ratchet the prongs forward, stretching the something wider. Now, just need to figure out what could be stretched back in 1887."

Well done, Carol!  This artifact is a carpet stretcher, used to stretch the carpet before tacking it down while installing it.

This advertisement for a similar item ran in the Spring and Summer 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue and Buyers' Guide:

It reads:

"Tack the carpet firmly at one corner, set teeth of the drawbar through the carpet, drive the hook into the floor close by the baseboard, as shown in the cut; then by means of the lever pry the drawbar forward until the carpet is sufficiently stretched, where the gravity drop will hold it until tacked.  Set the stretcher at intervals until the carpet is laid."

Note the bargain price of $.40 for one, and $4.32 for a dozen!

Check in next week for another mystery artifact!

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