1070 - I think it's to hand somebody a rope.
I've worked aboard three fishing boats. The seine would be more than a
thousand feet with a rope along the top and a rope along the bottom.
The motor dory would take one end in a big circle around the school.
Then the dory guy would transfer his ends of the ropes to the boat.
Now I can't recall how it was done. It had to be quick and simple and
foolproof. With both boats bobbing it seems too far to reach up from
the launch to somebody on the boat.
The tongs would extend one's reach by nearly four feet. They're too big
for the nylon we used but look the right size to grab the ropes used
The tongs would pinch a rope at two points a handswidth apart. Pull
from the bight would flex the rope where it was pinched, which could
cause it to slip out. It wouldn't flex and slip at the other pinch
point, toward the end. As the bight would pull toward the person
holding the tongs, there would be less flexing with the second version,
with its angled head.
Being almost entirely wood, they would float. They could also be used
to reach down to pick up a rope on the water.
What you are calling fingers I was calling support arms.
O.K. I *guess* that it could be used that way -- but I would
have designed it with something as part of the device to control the
tilt of the fingers in the basic linkage, not depending on a cavity
which may or may not be available in the piston.
And there are too many likely lumps inside the piston to really
allow it to work reliably. A piston is not typically as empty as a
coffee can. There are the bosses which carry the wrist pin bearings and
keep the connecting rod centered.
But unnecessarily complicated to use.
I still think that it serves some other function.
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