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Measuring or clamping tool?


Mar 22, 2007
On Elk Mountain, West Virginia, USA
My son brought this home from the flea market. A good eye he has! I could not tell him what it is.
It is heavily built, and shows wear as from hard pressure against some hard surface along the edges Overall length 7" collapsed, 11" fully extended.
The screw is buttress threaded, with a rounded-bottom keyway along the length to allow it to slide past a pawl when rotated to the correct position. The pawl (or partial nut) s sping-loaded so you can push it closed regardless of the position of the keyway, but once the thread is loaded you can adjust against substantial pressure by turning the knob on the end of the screw.

There must be some purpose to the reliefs milled in the back. It is assembled with what look like #8 plow bolts and slotted nuts

In case the writing is not legible, the legend on the top or front sauys, "clean in gasoline weekly" (to keep the pawl free I guess). The number (S/N?) on the back is 23952

It is a very nice one of whatever it is.
The 7" to 11" size would seem to preclude any use related to a fruit press. Plus, cleaning in gasoline is incompatible with food.

( It must be something that gets oily / grimey, but must be clean to function accurately . )

I can't say what it is, but perhaps by saying what it _isn't_, but resembles, might jog someone's memory.

The only thing I've ever seen in a machine shop context that even _vaguely_ resembles this object is a clamp for holding stacks of Johansson blocks.
But it cannot be that, because the clamping surfaces are angled.

So, do these words jog anyone's memory or imagination?

John Ruth
my first thought was a foot measure, but even as nasty as some feet are, cleaning in gasoline probably cancels that thought.
Interesting that the lower numbers line up with their doubled number on the other side.

Heres another...

I did a fast forward so haven't watched the whole operation, but it looks interesting.
The tool is shown around 3.00

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Rusty's got it, I think - My wife, who grew up in a 3rd generation printers family, said the measurements are in "Picas", and that printers always cleaned their stuff in gasoline!
Thanks for posting the video link, Rustyironism .
I see most people who have posted so far were probably around when this older thread where Keelan saved a Linotype was active.
Here is the link for those who were not viewing the forum then.
There are other links and more information about Linotypes there.
The title, "Measuring or clamping tool?" reminds me of an incident when I was a young lad working in a shop. The older guys liked to play jokes on us newbies so one day I decided to return the favor on one of the worst pranksters. He had lent me a micrometer for a measurement/sorting job and I went back to him and asked if he had another of those "nice little C-clamps I could borrow". As he freaked out I started to laugh and he realized he'd been had so he started laughing too, partly with relief.