What’s this tool?

My brother Tony bought this yesterday in Todmorden market.  We’ve been trying to find out what it was used for.  It’s the wrong shape and too uncomfortable for a shoe horn, although the shape suggests a similar use.  It’s not in Eric Sloane’s Museum of Early American Tools and Google image searches have proved fruitless.

It is iron, blacksmith-made with a little scroll on the end on the hook.  The edges are not sharpened.It’s 7 1/2 inches long overall.

Anyone have any ideas?

Quick update.

After extensive searching through tool books, the nearest I’ve come is a similar item used for running molten lead into a stone socket when fixing e.g. upright iron railings.

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2 thoughts on “What’s this tool?

  1. I suspect that using this with hot lead would be a bad idea, as it would appear to heat too quickly and thus burn the user’s hand. Also, it’s very short, and the user’s hand would be very close to the molten lead. (Lead, poured into a hole when setting iron pieces, would likely be poured directly from the ladle in which it was melted.)

    The shape of the tool is intriguing, and I wonder whether the curled portion was originally made that way? Further, I wonder if the material is tool steel, as opposed to mild steel or even wrought iron. (The pitting suggests steel.) Imagine for a moment that the curled portion were straight instead of curled; with the longitudinal curve of the thicker portion, the piece would look to me like a gouge. If the mystery tool’s construction is of high carbon (hardenable or tool) steel, this would support my hypothesis.

    High carbon steel is that containing 0.60 to 1.0% carbon, and may readily be determined by touching the tool against a spinning grind wheel. Observe the sparks created. If they are single point “shooting stars,” the material is not high carbon steel. If the sparks have multiple branches (forks, tails, or feathering), the material is likely high carbon steel.

    Kind regards,
    Claymore Highfield

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