Society Saturday: Help! What is this?

Goodness! Being ill and work craziness and oncoming holidays all add together to make for one very absent blogger! But I’m back! And being that today is Saturday and I’m assisting the historical society with their accessioning again, I have a very important question for you:

What IS this?







It resembles a pair of wooden scissors, but there is an inner track system that allows the two pieces to glide back and forth. You can, by gripping the handles, make the two sides slide back and forth easily in order to make the end do what the second photo shows. There are two prongs on the end. The lower one resembles a forked tongue and the top one is like a needle with a hole inside. There are also places to adjust pins perhaps, as can be seen in the photo. On both sides it has been stamped: ‘Jas. T Roberts, Patented September 22, 1908, Anderson, S.C.’

Initially, I thought it was shears. Or maybe an early hand-held sewing machine, or even something for making lace. But none of the sewers in my family can identify it exactly, and a google patent search has not been kind to me – so I ask for your help in identifying this item! What on this green earth IS this thing? Any leads or suggestions are appreciated!

© 2011, copyright Genealady & JustFolks


Society Saturday: Help! What is this? — 8 Comments

    • Thank you so much, Julie! I can’t imagine the amount of work you must have gone through to find that, but it is very much appreciated by both me and my local historical society! I’ve printed off the information you found so they can add it to their records. Thank you again!

    • Ha! Just saw the finding. Went back and looked at my search and I was 10 patents away from seeing the light. Good work Julie.

  1. No trouble at all. Tried a few different search combinations, then finally, after removing the date and using just the name and location, I found it. Probably spent a max of 10 minutes.

    • Well, it makes me blush how long I spent looking and got nowhere! But I learned a good lesson from your example – I was clearly being too restrictive in my search terms. I appreciate the lesson, and the effort, regardless. :)

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