Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Mystery Artifact

Last week's Mystery Artifact was a toughie, I'll admit. It was hard because, instead of an artifact you might have recalled from your grandmother's house, the mystery was a specialized job. This job was done at the various hydro-powered mills around town, such as the Peninsular Paper Mill. The mill in the photo was one belonging to Henry Ford.

This man is "clearing the rake." The rake is the series of wooden slats he's standing on--a wooden grill or comb that kept branches and trash out of the water stream providing power for the mill, so the machinery wouldn't get all clogged up. In the summer, this man would be clearing branches and storm-washed waste out of the rake. In the winter, he would be chipping ice off the rake.

One former Ypsilantian died this way, when he slipped off the icy Peninsular Paper Mill rake into the freezing Huron.

Let's hope this week's Mystery Artifact is easier! Take a peek at this doodad and see if you can guess what it is! It has a modern-day analog, so it's still around--just in a different form. Good luck!

9 comments :

Lisele said...

I'm gonna call this a work light or task light. Looks like you pound that pointy end into the wall to provide a temporary light while you work on some project. Then you pull it out again with the loop end. Analogous to the caged task light hanging above my sewing machine in the basement. The one I never use.

Dusty D said...

Hmm....interesting guess Lisele.

But why then, I wonder, would this item have the vertical hook near the middle?

Other guesses are also welcome till next Monday!

cmadler said...

It's a bit hard to tell in the photos, but I wonder if the loop at the end actually functions as something of a spring, allowing this to be hooked over the top of something and clipped to hold, so it coulld be used as a desk light, or something along those lines.

Matthew said...

It looks like it could be used as a fly-tying tool, for making fly-fishing lures.

On a boat, you could stab the long pointy end into the side of the boat, and skewer the lure onto the hook while tying under candlelight. Or just stab the thing into the nearest wall or door or tree or obnoxious loudmouth.

Not being a fly-fisherman, that is a completely wild guess.

Lisele said...

I saw something like this in a underground mine tour in the Keweenaw, which is why I guessed a task light. It was actually banged into the rock and held a candle to illuminate the mining of iron. My entire soul shivers to imagine being underground with only a candle. But I'd guess the loop was to hang it by, say you needed lighting in the center of a room...

cmadler said...

So what's the answer to this one?

Dusty D said...

cmadler: I spologize to you--I should have updated this sooner. I've now posted the answer, and thank you for revisiting and checking it out!

cmadler said...

spology accepted :-)

Dusty D said...

Thank you! Things got a bit crazy last week, but that's no excuse. Should be fine from now on with only 1 Mystery Artifact. Onwards!