LAST week’s What Is It? item has caused much debate both within and outside the office.
The owner of the New Norfolk antique shop where the object was photographed insists it’s an 1840’s capstan winch.
He claims the object, into which timber poles were inserted into the holes was used like a winch to wind up ropes and so forth.
However, despite this explanation everyone who wrote in – and this time there were more than 50, including Keith Brown who was the quickest – all think it’s the centre hub of a cartwheel.
So we checked with the curator of the Maritime Museum who wasn’t absolutely sure but said if she had to guess it would be a cartwheel hub. Her reasoning was – capstans need to be well seated and therefore would be expected to have a wider base than top and not be symmetrical top and bottom as this one would be, if it was used as a capstan.
Who would’ve thought such a small thing could cause such controversy! And although we’ve run out of room to print everyone’s names who wrote in this time, we do appreciate your feedback and would especially love to hear from anyone who has any quirky objects we could include as our next mystery item.