Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

What the heck is this? (Updated)

(click to enlarge)

I found this little doodad in a box with tie clips and such. The items belonged to my grandfather, Rosmer Kerr. Neither my dad nor I could figure out what its purpose might have been.

On the top side, there's a leaf design in the center--my best guess is that it's a buckeye leaf--and what appears to be a tiny horseshoe at each end. Readers may recognize the leaf design, from which I made a digital ornament to use in the Kerr Family Homes slideshow last week.

It doesn't appear that any part of this thing was made to slide, but there seems to be some kind of spring inside the center box which allows the two end sections to flex to a slightly flatter position.

Turning the piece over, you can see that the horseshoes are mounted on little hollow cups. The tubes also seem to be hollow.

Anybody got a clue?


After reading Apple's comment, I thought I should reconsider this little doodad. Apple suggested it might be some kind of collar bar, an idea I had rejected. I got out the two collar bars that I'd found with the doodad, and indeed they were just about the same length.

But why, I kept wondering, does this thing flex? I fiddled around with the pieces for a minute and voilĂ !, the mystery is solved. When flexed, the little cups of the doodad slip over the bent ends of either collar bar. Release and the two pieces are latched together. (See image below.)

Unfortunately, there's no date or manufacturer's name on this ornament. The wee printing on the back indicates that a patent was applied for. A Google Patent Search turned up a couple of patents for collar bar ornaments. Although neither drawing resembled Rosmer's item, both patents dated from the mid-1930's, so that's my best estimate as to its age.

Thanks, Apple!

(click to enlarge)


Apple said...

My best guess is that it is a collar bar, perhaps for wear with a bolo tie as a regular tie would have covered the leaf but a bolo could have been placed under.

T.K. said...

Ya know, Apple, the horseshoes did make me think of that, but I can't fathom how it would have worked. Maybe there was some kind of cord that was attached into the two tubes that are open on the end? Or maybe there was a part that the two cup thingies snapped onto? There isn't anyplace where a bolo cord could have actually passed through, and no apparent way to attach this to anything the way it is now. Some part could be missing, I suppose. He wore hats, maybe it was an ornament on a hat? Maybe it wasn't even apparel-related!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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