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The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society chronicles the history of our region from American Indian occupation through 20th century industry and life.

Lycoming Fair Table and Contest

Bunion Stretcher

What Is It? What was it used for?

 We recently had a table at the 2013 Lycoming County Fair. To increase traffic around our table, we invited visitors to guess what the depicted artifact might be.

 Ralph Kepner correctly identified this object as an apparatus to stretch shoes to accommodate a painful bunion on your foot. It was created by the Enterprise Company, and patented in 1897!

A number of people receive congratulatory congratulations for getting it right (but sorry, no prize)! They are:

  Ray Carter

  Olivia, Charlotte & Craig Dudek

  Jason Horn

  Rod Houseknecht

  Paul E. Jacobs

  Marlyn Kepner

  Steve Loveland

  Cindy Newcomer

  Eric Newcomer

  Steve Pfaff

  Christine Preston

  Deb Steransky

  Janet Tilley

  Joseph Whitteker

  Helen Yoas


 And there were a number of interesting (and very inventive) answers:

Candle Snuffer

Leather Punch (close, but doesn’t actually pierce the leather)

Leather working tool/stretcher (we needed a little more specific knowledge)

Leather press for harness (close, very close!)

“the tool to bring out hot metal to pound it”

Hole punch

Metal punch/tool to put a divot in a piece of metal

Train tool


Welding or for picking up Horse shoes that are hot

Used to hold oxen for shoeing by pinching in nose

To put bull ring in nose

A tool to put a patch in a bullet

A bottle opener

A tool to make spoons

A rivet tool

Used to heat up rivets to build bridges

To crack nuts

Where you put the tags in the ear of livestock

Hardness test for steel

Tire Repair tool

Bottle capper

A bottle capper for root beer, ketchup, or grape juice (homemade)

Something used for logging, like a clamp to drag the trees out of the woods

To Lead a Bull By the Nose

Ice Grabber/Tongs

Ice thong (Ooohhh!!!)


Bull Castrator

A tool to push gun powder into a shell

Snoot Pliers

Twitch (put in horse nose to get their attention)

A Brand Marker

Medical instrument for an animal

Saddles press, conchos

Belt hole maker

Something to take a horse shoe and put on and off

Bullet Stuffer

Create the head of a glass bottle, where the cork or cap goes on

A Cork press for wine/whiskey bottles

Bottle opener

Bottle/cork closer

To make bottle caps

Tool used to nail in nails on the railroad

Tool to remove railroad spikes

Tool to remove hot metals from the stoves

Pick up Logs

Blacksmith tool for holding hot iron

Pig intestine cleaner

Chain link maker

Something to get a hot pot off of a stove or from a fire

Grommet crimping tool