What Is This?
Experts and readers uncover the history of some interesting gizmos.
Experts uncover the history and use of some mysterious tools.
What was the use for this?
I know it’s dairy-related; I found it in an old barn. STARLINE, which was a manufacturer of dairy equipment, is stamped on it. The small latch is spring-loaded, and it opens to allow something to be hung from the hook.
Answer: In 1883, Henry Ferris patented his hay carrier invention. At the time, Charles Hunt and Nathan Helm owned a hardware store in Harvard, Illinois, and invited Ferris to move his shop into the basement. They began selling his hay carrier and started the Hunt, Helm & Ferris Co. In 1931, they incorporated and changed their business’ name to Starline. The company went on to manufacture more than 50 products designed to make farm work more efficient.
This item is half of the locking mechanism of the company’s “Star Chain Alley Gate.” The system was made of heavy chains in a series on either side of a quickconnecting lock mechanism. Its advantage was that the chains could easily be adjusted to fit any size opening.
According to Dan Creyts, who restores and collects antique dairy items in Grand Ledge, Michigan, this partial piece is worth up to $20.
Information from Sandy Garrison and Joe Kenz, a certified personal property appraiser, who are co-owners of Rhubarb Reign, an antiques and design business.
This 1919 catalog shows how the tool was used.