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Does anyone know what this is for?

What is this item?

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Mike London27/04/2021 10:34:08
26 forum posts
1 photos

You now know I am not a gardener!

V8Eng27/04/2021 10:54:36
1606 forum posts
32 photos

Perhaps it’s an early machine for making crinkle crisps to go into the walkers box!😉

Edited By V8Eng on 27/04/2021 10:55:46

Edited By V8Eng on 27/04/2021 10:56:32

Edited By V8Eng on 27/04/2021 10:56:57

Nicholas Farr27/04/2021 11:05:57
2864 forum posts
1295 photos

Hi, might be a daft idea, but I wonder if it is some kind of heavy duty knurling machine with a blank disc fitted ready to be knurled on the edge. It could be a two man operated machine, with a labourer cranking the handle and a skilled person operating the lever and adjusting that small wheel under the left hand front corner, whatever they do. But I'm probably way of the mark.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 27/04/2021 11:06:58

not done it yet27/04/2021 12:52:49
6078 forum posts
20 photos


As noted earlier, that flat wheel does not appear to be easily detached.

JasonB27/04/2021 13:04:13
20880 forum posts
2318 photos
1 articles

Blowing it up large it looks like that may be a slotted R/H screw holding the upper wheel in place

SillyOldDuffer27/04/2021 15:07:35
7341 forum posts
1617 photos

Another daft idea, but could it be a heavy duty sewing machine, for edging canvas or leather?

There is a gap marked in red where cloth could pass underneath as in a sewing machine. Possibly the pulley feeds thread (something hefty like sisal, not cotton.)


The two wheels just grip the material and pull it through the head. One side is plain to minimise damaging the material, but whatever it is, it's tough heavy stuff.

Alternatively it's a punch or pricker, used to make eyelet holes along the edge of leather, or thick canvas sheet for big tents, sails or large tarpaulins.

The small pulley supports the edge as it passes through. Maybe there is a twin on the other side, and perhaps they were connected by a belt to improve support, but it's just a roller. Mode of operation:


  • The gap between gripping wheels and the head is set to suit the material with adjuster A
  • The punch depth is set by adjuster B
  • Turning Crank-handle C pulls the material through the head and under the punch as far as wanted
  • Holes are punched by pulling handle D.

Used in a factory rather than by an individual skilled sailmaker doing repairs or making small items.


PS One of my uncles trained briefly as a sailmaker after joining the Navy during WW2. I was surprised, but he explained warships require hundreds of bespoke canvas covers to protect guns, aerials, and anything else delicate and exposed to the weather. Highly skilled work. Didn't last - he spent most of the war in Canada as a trainee pilot. Wish I'd asked - from what little he said almost certainly Coastal Command Liberators.




Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 27/04/2021 15:08:41

MichaelR27/04/2021 19:15:17
433 forum posts
83 photos

I still don't know what this item is but trawling the internet for similar looking machines with plain and serrated rollers I still think it is connected with leather work and it could be what is called a Leather Skiver/Splitter or maybe not.

It's certainly caught my interest.


Hopper28/04/2021 09:33:04
5505 forum posts
137 photos

Perhaps your good lady's friend could be persuaded to provide some more pictures of the other side of the machine, each end and the lower portion where the lever etc are, and maybe some close ups of the "business end" where the serrated roller is?

Otherwise, it's a bit of a case of


It certainly has the overall look of a sheet metal jenny used for beading and crimping etc but the extra gizmos, levers etc and the size of the rollers does not fit that ilk. Rope or canvas or leather working seems more likely. But more pics definitely needed to guess any further.

George Jervis28/04/2021 10:26:17
94 forum posts
43 photos

We both sent him a message yesterday, asking if he could provide more pictures for us but haven't heard anything back yet? As soon as I get a reply I'll post more


George Jervis08/05/2021 18:53:06
94 forum posts
43 photos

Hi everyone,

I have recieved some more pictures their in my album but I am unable to insert them into this thread?(if admin could assist would be appreciated) sadly there is no more information on what this item is and there not as clear as I would of hoped,


George Jervis09/05/2021 10:40:28
94 forum posts
43 photos

Strange item

George Jervis09/05/2021 10:40:52
94 forum posts
43 photos

Strange item

George Jervis09/05/2021 10:41:35
94 forum posts
43 photos

Strange item

George Jervis09/05/2021 10:41:59
94 forum posts
43 photos

Strange item

George Jervis09/05/2021 10:43:34
94 forum posts
43 photos

Strange itemStrange item

Phil Whitley09/05/2021 13:46:20
1351 forum posts
147 photos

Look for the letters BSM (British shoe machinery) It looks like a leather crimper used to form the edge on a shoe upper where it stitches to the sole.


Mike E.09/05/2021 15:07:41
213 forum posts
27 photos

Looks to me like a sheet metal machine for reducing the ends of stove pipes so that sections can fit into one another.

Nigel Graham 209/05/2021 15:16:09
1608 forum posts
20 photos

I suggested that (as one of its uses) right back as the second reply to the OP.

It does look like a heavy-duty and rather complicated form of sheet-metal "jenny" as you suggest, and that was my first thought' but between us we've pretty well discounted it and leather-work or heavy-duty textile work seems the most likely lines of enquiry.

Given Phil's suggestion, and as there is a shoe-repairers in town, when things permit I am tempted to take a print of the photo there to ask. If it is a footwear making / repairing tool there should be modern equivalents about.

Robert Dodds09/05/2021 21:07:28
291 forum posts
40 photos

I think I can see two rollers, one at the handle side and another at the opposite side. Both have semi circular profiles and in one picture there may be a third roller which looks to be horizontally mounted in the same plane as the other two. I ask if this could indicate some form of wire bead folder similar to that which was used in auto construction in the 1930s.
Looking at images of bead forming machines highlights functional similarities between our mystery tool and some of the more recent designs of bead roller.

One maker has a video of making a bead rolled edge on a vintage Ford body panel that's well worth watching.

I can't explain the purpose of the outboard rollers but I think the primary tooling is hiding inside the head somewhere and that the hand lever is used to relieve pressure (from the big spring underneath) whist loading the part to start whatever.

Hope my musing makes sense to others

Bob D

Pete Rimmer10/05/2021 17:29:23
1004 forum posts
57 photos

It 's a subject-piece for a "who can take the worst photos" competition. Honestly you couldn't take less useful photos if you tried.

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