In 1904, a dozen Gillette blades cost $1. In terms of the cost of
living, that was like $25 today. In terms of wages, it was more. Many
weren't paid $1 for a day's work.
I remember Blue Blades. The first shave was likely to cause pulling and
nicks and leave incomplete results. The second shave was worse. I
would have bought a sharpening device.
Razor blades were scarce and rationed (like anything else
needed) during WW-II, so ways to make them last longer were desirable.
One trick with a double-edged blade was to drop it in a glass tumbler,
and (with the blade edges vertical) slide it around inside the walls.
This I learned from my uncle, who was a Navy flyer during the Korean
Also -- GIs were likely to be posted where the blades were even
more difficult to come by -- so even if they were not too expensive,
having a way to sharpen them was useful. (Or -- things to make them
last longer, like the Burma Shave whose signs took over the roadside for
One type I remember -- one of my uncles had one when I was a kid --
was a little hard Arkansas stone with a plano-concave hollow in one
side. It was just a little wider than a double-edged blade and maybe
twice as long.
You laid the blade in there, pushed in down in the middle with one
finger to bend it a bit, and then work the blade around in a circle.
Then you flipped the blade to do the other side.
Posting from rec.crafts.metalworking as always.
2899) Looks like a tool for scribing a number of lines parallel to the
edge of a piece of wood. Scribe one line (using the hex wood
block sliding along the edge), then rotate it to the next flat
and scribe the next, until all are done.
Since all the adjustment pulls seem at the same level, yet the
scribe points at the other end are in steps of something like
1" spacing, based on the 8" overall length., it looks like that is the default
spacing of the lines -- though you can loosen one of the "tuning
pegs" and slide a scribe to a different depth.
Since there is apparently no "tuning peg" on the bottom-most
flat, it is for five parallel lines, and may be related to a
music staff -- though why you would want to make one in wood is
not clear -- other than for decorative purposes.
2900) If it were from earlier, I would consider it to possibly be a
container for needles for stitching up sails. Not sure what a
merchant marine would put in there. Maybe salt or some other
As for opening it -- take two pieces of wood, drill holes which
are a slip fit near for the each of the two diameters one end of
each, cut a slot in the wood from the long end to the hole, and
when you squeeze the sides of the handle together, it will grip
the surface without distorting it.
Is it steel, or silver? (Check with a magnet.)
2901) These are a set of levels -- most for horizontal or vertical
surface checks, though the last is for horizontal surfaces only.
The longer the distance from pivot to plumb bob, the more
2902) These look like two scribe points for some form of trammel
(like a divider, but all mounted on a beam instead of a hinged
pair of legs.) The center one could hold a larger pivot point
to fit into an existing hole.
2903) A wood-turning chisel -- apparently to make a sharp
2904) An optical tool for sure. It looks as though it is intended to
accept a narrow beam from below (assuming the handle is
vertical), deflect it to something held in the clip, and it
looks like it will hold a single-edged razor blade, likely for
the knife-edge test of a mirror lens being made for an
It is probably made to be sold to amateur telescope makers.
Maybe it it held with the handle down, and the eye above looking
down on the 45-degree mirror (probably first-surface).
I am surprised that the cavity surrounding the 45-degree mirror
is not painted flat black.
2838) So -- someone finally identified this one. Thanks.
I have a triple beam desktop scale where one can suspend an object by a
thread to measure its weight in a container of water to calculate the
density. If it's solid steel, I'd think it must be a pin to keep
something mechanical from moving. On a ship, you probably wouldn't need
a padlock to keep somebody from removing such a pin: just a fob with the
initials of the authority who had disabled the device.
Match safe! I hadn't thought of that. In that case (no pun!), it might
be from the 19th Century. Joshua Pusey invented book matches in 1879
because his match safe spoiled the appearance of his suit. Advertising
appeared on book matches in 1897, and that greatly increased production.
Lighter flints went into production in 1907. In WWI, I've read of
soldiers using book matches and lighters but not stick matches. The
Zippo, known for being windproof and reliable, came out in 1932.
In "The Sand Pebbles," a worker inside a steam engine was killed because
a saboteur had removed the locking mechanism. The author had been an
engineer on a similar vessel. If the danger was known, one would want a
tamper-proof pin. Perhaps the groove described by the owner was made
for a slotted plate to engage. Put the pin in, slide the plate on, and
screw the plate down with tamper-proof screws. The ship's engineer
would have the special screwdriver. Perhaps SE stands for Ship's
Engineer. If it's solid, that's my guess!
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