Mystery Object

What can it be?

By M.M.

This pearl handle gadget which appears to be for measuring something, belonged to my granddad. It was in his gardening box with his raffia and pruning shears but appears to delicate to be a gardening item. His occupation was a moulder in the iron works, so it certainly is to delicate to be a tool of that trade. We recently took it to the museums antique valuation event, just to find out what it was, however for once the dealer was baffled, he had never seen one before. Does anyone know what it is?

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Mystery Object' page
This page was added on 31/05/2016.
Comments about this page

Assuming the measure slides up and down, I guess the gardening box is a clue. I would also guess your grandfather belonged to a gardening club of some kind. I believe the implement  would have been used to measure the circumference of a fruits or vegetables he was entering into a Cabbage Club Competition. He probably had one of the many allotments that our town possessed at the time. You could well be getting into the diameter X 3 and  1/7th sizing.

By Alan Curtis
On 01/06/2016

Hi Alan, while you assume correctly that the measure does slide up and down it would be very limited on what it could measure - a large spring onion maybe!

At maximum the diameter is 1¾ inches (4½cm) 7 minimum diameter 7/8 inch (2.3cm). The circumference varies by 3¼" from maximum to minimum. The measure is sprung steel and marked in inches with a scale of 1" ½" 1/8"

The antiques dealer suggested it dated around 1850s, and it was thought that the fact it was discovered in my grandfathers gardening box was a red herring!


On 16/06/2016