Re: What is it? XCVIII

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On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 21:23:39 +0000, Dan wrote:

It wouldn't make much of a hammer with that swivel. I'm guessing that the pointy part gets pounded into a post - i.e., you whack what looks like the hammerhead, poke the point in, and you have kind of a swivel, which maybe then you'd loop your fence wire over what looks like teeth, and pick a tooth based on what kind of mechanical advantage you want as you tighten the fence wire.
Well, that's my guess. ;-)
Cheers! Rich
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R.H. wrote:

Since I haven't known anyone who built wire fences without wearing a good set of leather gloves, I can't see as how that's a problem!
(They're on the side where your fingers go, not the side where your palm goes, right?)
- Brooks
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 05:00:03 -0800, Tim Shoppa wrote:

Maybe from an "Enigma" coder/decoder circa WWII. I'm almost sure I've seen such a thing before - the 45 degree bevel on the back is a dead giveaway that it stuck out from some console, but I can't remember for the life of me where I've seen it.
Thanks, Rich
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    Too simple to be an "enigma", which used several rotors, with crossed wiring from contacts on one side to contacts on the other side, and some subset of them were rotated with each new character entered. There was a keyboard, which closed contacts, fed through all of the rotors (I think that the general one was three rotor, and the submarine force later got a four-rotor version), and the scrambled wiring eventually lit a small lamp behind the character which stood for the original one.
    But it probably could be used for something like changing digits in a key code book for cutting a key from the number on the lock. (They would not want it to be too simple, but also not so difficult that a locksmith could not make keys at need.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Rich Grise wrote:

I think it's more likely from a simple machine (not a "coder/decoder" like an Enigma machine) that has to scatter sequential digits such that the are not adjacent in the machine's operation. Don's suggestion of a key-cutter might be close, but it would do the mapping because you don't really want a key cut to pattern #4 to be close to a key cut to #3 or #5 (replace "key" with whatever this thing does! I think security/encryption is a bit of a red herring, it's probably something more to do with mechanical tolerances and not cutting a strip of something too thin or maybe something more like the utility of a hash index in computing.)
I can't rule out it being from some sort of encryption device but the mapping is so straightforward that it would provide zero real security itself.
And the fact that there are twenty teeth on the cog and twenty digits (two different colors) around the dial has to mean something, I just don't know what! Going back to the "hash index" idea, maybe there are ten useful doohinkeys in a machine, and they don't want to wear any out in favor of others, so at each shift change they advance the dial one and use that setting on the machine.
As to style, it's simplicity and lack of adornment suggests something like a East European public telephone from the 50's. At the same time, it looks like it was machined out of solid billet (aluminum? and really thick housing!) and not cast as a mass-produced item would be.
As enigmatic as Gary Larson's "Cow Tools" :-).
http://www.salon.com/people/portfolio/1999/12/21/larson/older4.html
Tim.
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    [ ... ]

    Note that when one of the digits on the dial is aligned with the leftmost index mark (clearly white), the red digits are visible through the holes. When one of the digits on the dial is aligned with the rightmost index mark (darker -- perhaps red), the white digits are visible instead.
    The white digits are sequential, but in reverse order of the ones on the dial, while the red digits are scattered.
    Using the white index, you have ten possible substitution patterns, depending on which dial digit is aligned with the index. Using the darker (possibly red) index, you have ten other possible substitution patterns.
    Perhaps it is for something simple like obfuscating codes being broadcast -- say from a controller to police cars via radio.
    The roller is not part of a switch, but rather just a detent, to hold the "dial" at its last setting.
    The angled base suggests that it should be on a desktop or a console top. It is too dark to tell whether it has some drilled and tapped holes for mounting to the surface, or perhaps has a black felt pad to simply make it sort of non-slip.

    Agreed -- but someone cared enough to do a nice job of engraving the digits and anodize the various parts rather nicely.

    I like that one.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On Fri, 20 Jan 2006 23:37:42 +0000, DoN. Nichols wrote:

I don't get it. )-;
Thanks, Rich
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    It is like us, trying to figure out what these puzzle tools do, when we don't even know what field they work in.
    Would you expect to understand what a cow's tools do, when you don't even know what kind of work a cow might want to do with tools?
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 02:28:27 +0000, DoN. Nichols wrote:

I thought it might have something to do with the cow toolmaker's dexterity. ;-)
Thanks! Rich
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The machineman entity posted thusly:

566: Candle holder?
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I think that it's supposed to be a dragon, though the head of it is lacking in detail and is the weakest part of the piece.
Rob
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The Robert Bonomi entity posted thusly:

Minor trivia: Folks who made hats used to use 'carbon-tet', and it affected their brains. Hence the phrase "Mad as a hatter".
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Robert Bonomi:

Oleg Lego:

Nope. That was mercury, not carbon tet.
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Toronto the Jargontalk, with awk and grep,
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snipped-for-privacy@vex.net (Mark Brader) wrote in

Correct. CCl4 gives you liver cancer IIRC.
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Best regards
Han
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wrote:

Thought it was mercury salts that did that to the hatters. The mercury salts were used for curing the pelts that went into the hats.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Heard the same story, but with mercury.
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Oleg Lego wrote:

Actually it was the mercury that they used in hatmaking that affected them.
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Sorry, but that's not quite correct.
The other 'common' use for carbon-tet was as a dry-cleaning fluid.
Hat-making used mercury in the making of the 'felt' from which many types of hats are formed. (ranging from Stetsons, to Derbys. :)
Hatmakers _chewed_ (literally, as in 'masticated') the source material, to soften it, prior to forming into final shapes.
The long-term effects of ingestion of low levels of mercury in that work, did give rise to various forms of insanity.
The long-term effects of ingestion of low levels of mercury in that work, did give rise to various forms of insanity.
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The Robert Bonomi entity posted thusly:

I stand corrected. Serves me right for taking the word of someone who told me that many years ago, without checking on it myself.
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563 Fire extinguisher bottle filled with Carbontetrachloride IIRC
564 Saw Set
565 Wall mounted ice crusher
566 Cane topper?
567 Ammo Belt
568 Ice shaver for making shaved ice like snowcones.
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