What is it? (Odd looking hand tool) [ed. title]

I found a couple of things over the weekend and I’m trying to figure out what they were used for, here is one of them, it’s 8-1/2" long:

The small piece can be rotated fairly easily:

The only writing on it is “Mabsco, Flushing, N.Y., pat. pend.”

I tried to post photos instead of links but they didn’t work in the preview, can photos be posted here?

If anyone else has some unusual tools or other objects that are unidentified, feel free to post them in this thread.

If it didn’t have that swinging piece, and the broad curved edge was sharp and didn’t have that divot in the middle, I’d say it was a “head knife” used for cutting leather.

About the only other thing it barely resembles might be a mason’s pointing trowel, but I’m pretty sure it’s not one of those either.

Here is the second item, it seems to be some type of clip or clamp, spring loaded to stay closed, there are no words or numbers on it:

A close-up of the top part:

The forked tip lines up with the small hole, but the large hole on the other end doesn’t seem to have a purpose:

They kinda look like old timey leather working tools.

The large hole is probably used to hang it up on the wall.

It looks like some kind of press. Do you think it was something used for shoe repair?

Guests can’t post images.

Actually, paying members can’t either. :slight_smile:

I agree, but I also thought of harness making. It looks like a press to make rivets or brads to join leather pieces.

Thanks to everyone for the replies, I also agree that the second tool is probably used with leather, I’ve been doing some searching but haven’t yet been able to verify exactly how it was used.

That second thing probably isn’t a punch - the handle’s shaped so you press it, which would open the thing up, and it doesn’t look like you’d normally use it by pulling on the handle.

Rivets would be set either by hammering them directly, or with a kick press, which is a much larger thing - usually around four and a half feet tall.

The first thing too. It looks like an old cobbler’s tool.

The first tool resembles this saddler’s knife. Here’s another one, referred to as a head knife.

I’m certain I’ve seen something very much like that before - I believe it’s for cutting thongs out of leather sheets - the swinging part is for gripping the thongs in order to stretch them

The second item looks like a buttonhole cutting guide/clamp, but I’m not sure that’s what it actually is.

The first tool doesn’t have any sharp edges like a blade, it’s about 3/32" thick all the way around.

One reason that I question this guess is that most buttonholers that I’ve seen have a slot for the cutting blade to go into, so you aren’t dulling the it every time you make a cut.
If anyone is interested, I’ve got a web site where I’ve posted a number of other unusual objects and tools for people to guess what they are:
I prefer to know the identity of things before I post them on my site, so I usually do some research first, and this week I thought I’d try something different and ask on this board. Thanks for all of the responses so far.

Please tell us if you’ve found an answer. :slight_smile:

Just found the answer to the second tool, turns out that it’s a “machine for inserting and clinching staples”. Google’s patent page for it can be seen here:
I’m missing the part that holds and pushes in the staples.

I didn’t have an offset screwdriver that was necessary to remove the tool from the wood base, but I borrowed one last night, took the device apart and found the patent date of April 13, 1880 on the bottom. A couple minutes searching on Google patents and I found the answer.

Here is my photo of the tool to refresh your memory:

I posted another set of “What is it?” photos on my site this morning, if anyone is interested:


Seam reefer