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Guess What? August 2006

Guess What Article for August 2006
By Bob Cahn, “The Primitive Man”
It’s small! It’s a goody – well-made, compact, sturdy, solid and satisfying. Sounds like a TV commercial.
An executive paperweight? Not really, but an eclectic possibility. Unusual – definitely! Rare – and scarce…you’d better believe it! We’ve not seen the likes of it before; good reason to offer it as this month’s GUESS WHAT challenge.
It has two different size tapered openings – each with its own accompanying parallel shaving blade.
We’ve given you the basics, but what was its function? What problem did it alleviate, improve, correct, alter, change, re-shape or transform? A lot of possibilities for something so small – but we guarantee that the answer will intrigue you, as it did us.
Sizing it up as follows: 3-1/2 inches wide by 1-3/4 inches deep by 7/8 inches high, made by J.F. Palmberg, Boston, with the tapered hole openings of 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch each. Armed with these size references, which of the following implausibilities seems the most likely – with the actual use hidden in the mix.
Is it:

  1. Stringed instrument tuning peg hand taper/shaver
  2. Cigarette self-rolling shaper/former
  3. Golf tee blunt tip sharpener
  4. Student’s pencil box pointer
  5. Chop sticks thin end whittler
  6. Used birthday candle recycler/refurbisher
  7. Teacher’s blackboard chalk sharpener
  8. Veterinarian’s ostrich toenail trimmer
  9. Macaroni maker’s even-length sizer
  10. Soda straw hollow former.

Answer next month, and we can hardly wait. Till then!

Answer to July’s Guess What?

Last month’s puzzler was a “button harvester.” It snipped existing buttons (which were expensive) from worn out garments or uniforms – much like a hedge trimmer or dog groomer’s clipper – with the button automatically accumulating in the reservoir cup at the top of the gizmo.
The lever extending from the side activated the cutting mechanism… enabling the eventual recycling of the precious commodity.
Patented on February 5, 1898 by S.E. Burke, Edon, Ohio. Talk about today’s gadget mentality, this borders on overkill.*
*Many thanks to Bill and Rosemary Ulmer, Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

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