SEPTEMBER 2000
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From high rollers to holy rollers, we’ve got a roller for you. Different, unique, unusual and of course, the raison d’etre of this column — to challenge you. Covered in a deep pink muslin with a few smudge marks (probably recovered), we have a device with an extension arm lever that activates and rotates the roller in tiny increments. The horizontal bar helps maintain an even holding pressure — but for what purpose?

Standing 8 inches high on a cast iron 6¼ inch diameter base, the roller measures 10 inches long with a diameter of 3 inches. The lever arm is 3½ inches. Now that we’ve inundated you with all these statistics (the better to paint a comparative size reference) let’s get to the problem at hand: identifying and figuring out its function. It is an accessory and works in conjunction with a featured partner.

A few observations: is it a department store counter "SALE" sign —
holding display stand or maybe a squeegee for drying wet photo prints.
Possibly it could work as a wrinkled dryer and straightener or a toilet paper holder. It might have been used in early 20th century barber shops
to hold fresh head-rest paper or to wipe off straight razor shaving cream
lather. Using it as a transporter of early Wall Street ticker stock report is strictly within the realm of plausibility. Musicians and arrangers see it as a useful adjunct for holding blank music manuscript sheets when scoring for concerts or recording sessions. How about these who’d opt for it to hold crossword puzzle solving attempts to cut down on extended arm fatigue and the initial signs of carpel tunnel syndrome.

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Til next time.
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    Answer to August's Guess What..?


We must admit our curious fallibility when first we happened on this mechanical puzzler. Sometimes you get lucky, because stenciled on the underside of the wood base was the following:  
"CREPE PAPER CRIMPER - MANITOWAC,WIS." 

Sure saved a mess of impossible research. The paper was fed into the tin hopper with an open side vent at the bottom of the cone, allowing for easy sliding in and smoothness of operation. With the board mounted for stability and immobility, turning the handle activated two coarse cogged gears at right angles to each other. The fed-in paper got crimped between these two gears. It’s so simple when you know.

*Available for acquisition 9/2000

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