Mystery tool solved

B y Jaime Thomas

After two fruitless years of searching for the purpose of a tool he had purchased at an estate sale, Willard Graham contacted the Sentinel for some help.

Only days after a picture and description of the tool were published in the paper, Graham had his answer. While a number of locals contacted the Sentinel to suggest the tool was used for anything from fencing to hanging telegraph wire, it took the sleuthing of an internet-savvy teenager to find its original purpose.

“The ‘mystery tool’ pictured in the sentinel was a so-called “shipper’s tool” patented and locally manufactured in Granville, by Edward D. Woods of Manchester, Vt. The tool was a three-in-one shipper’s tool used for removing plated addresses off crates and putting the addresses on new crates. I’m assuming that the addresses were scratched into small wood or metal plates,” said 14-year-old Dylan Daigle.

Daigle said he followed a chain of information and web pages on the Internet to find a patent that illustrates and describes the tool’s creation and use.

Graham ran into a friend, who happened to be Daigle’s grandfather, at a diner last week.

“He said, ‘Did you find your tool? My grandson found it in five minutes. He’s got all the information for you.’ I guess he’s quite a computer whiz — I couldn’t believe it,” Graham said. His own ideas to the origins of the tool were close to being right.

“I figured it had to be staples or nails, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was,” he said.

Edith Sparling, Granville’s town historian, did some research of her own about the Woods Specialty Company. She said the factory was behind where Branch Auto Parts now sits on Main Street until it burned down in 1896. It was an auxiliary of the Carver Company, which manufactured many metal tools, used in agriculture and in the quarry business.

Daigle thinks it’s fortunate Woods made a patent for his work, which is about 117 years old.

“If he hadn’t patented the tool, I don’t think anyone would have ever found it,” he said.

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