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Guess What? April 2001

Guess What Article for April 2001
By Bob Cahn, “The Primitive Man”

This month we’re taking the time machine back to the 18th century and the land of forges and blacksmiths. We have a pair of twin forged structures standing in silhouette like the skeletal remains of a forest fire. Obviously hand crafted and rugged, our challenge to you is to figure out their combined function since they work as a team. Blacksmith made, their heavyweight dimensions are 42″W x 24″H.

We have asked the CCC (Committee for Colonial Confusion) to come up with some suggested uses:

  1. First American Olympic gymnasts’ parallel bars tryout equipment C. 1790
  2. Indian dug-out canoe makers’ working support stands
  3. Table top stanchions (for expansion seating for drop-in guests)
  4. Pair of early field hockey goal frames (minus the nets)
  5. Dual croquet wickets
  6. Early forged funeral parlor coffin viewing supports
  7. Backyard britches drying racks
  8. Hearth utensil hanging or cooking frames (standing cranes)
  9. Early mattress bed frame stands
  10. Original Olympic track and field low hurdle stanchions
  11. Herb drying racks
  12. Animal training obedience gates.

A confusing slate of suggestions, but a little patience and before you know it the May Brimfield issue will be off the press with the answer checking in at No. 13.

Answer to March Issue Guess What..?

We mentioned in passing that last month’s Guess What? was made in France, made of nickel on brass and worked like a pliers when the handles were open and closed. This action caused a re-action on the inner rim of the circular opening – causing the corrugated fingers with sharp needle centers to protrude. We also hinted that coming up with the room in which it was used would help with the solution. The rooms are the kitchen, breakfast nook or dining room. The item: a soft-boiled egg opener (the opening is slipped over the end while in the egg cup). Sorry we didn’t have an oeuf handy to demonstrate when we took our photos (that’s French for ‘egg’), but the chickens had the day off.* (*From the never-ending collection of Mike Goodman, Mass.)

P.S. We received this response from a reader. As you can see, he was on target.

Dear Mr. Cahn,

The object in question is a soft-boiled egg ‘opening’ tool. That is, a soft-boiled egg is placed in an egg holder, or egg pedestal. The device is then placed on the egg, and the wings are closed. The notches score the top of the egg shell, and the newly made lid is removed. The person can then daintily scoop out and eat the egg.

The device was used in the better hotel dining rooms, the upper crust, and those of good upbringing and manners. Circa: Victorian, also used in the US.

Miguel Mieles, New York, N.Y.

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