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Home » Unusual Antique Tools Identification and Value Determination Guide

Unusual Antique Tools Identification and Value Determination Guide

While it is not usual to come across a tool that was used thousands of years ago, what if you do some day? Do you know how to go about with unusual antique tools identification? And before you do, are you sure that what you’ve found is really a tool?

Some Unusual Antique Tools

unusual antique tools identification
These unusual antique tools provide a glimpse into the specific tasks and crafts of the past.

Why do we ask this, because there were some unusually unique antique tools that were not commonly used. These unusual antique tools provide a glimpse into the specific tasks and crafts of the past, showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of artisans and inventors in developing tools for specific purposes.

Here are some examples of such tools:

Ice saw:

An ice saw is a large, serrated tool used for cutting blocks of ice. Before the widespread availability of refrigeration, ice was harvested from frozen bodies of water during the winter and stored in ice houses for use during warmer months. Ice saws typically had long, sharp-toothed blades, often with a wooden or metal frame, and were used to cut through the ice in a sawing motion.


A buttonhook is a small tool with a hook at one end, often made of metal. This Victorian era tool was primarily used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to fasten buttons on gloves and shoes. The hook would be inserted through the buttonhole, allowing the user to pull the button through and secure it in place. Buttonhooks were particularly useful for small buttons or buttons in hard-to-reach places, making it easier to dress oneself.

Butter print:

A butter print, also known as a butter mold or stamp, is a carved wooden tool used to imprint decorative patterns or designs onto butter. It was commonly used in the 18th and 19th centuries when butter was often made at home and shaped into blocks or pats. The butter would be packed into the mold, and when removed, it would bear the design carved into the mold’s surface. These designs could range from simple geometric patterns to intricate motifs, adding a decorative touch to the homemade butter.

Hog scraper:

A hog scraper is a tool used for scraping bristles off a pig’s skin during the butchering process. It consists of a curved metal blade with a handle attached. The blade would be pressed against the pig’s skin and moved in a scraping motion to remove the bristles.

Onion goggles: Onion goggles are specialized goggles with tinted lenses designed to protect the eyes from tears while cutting onions. When onions are cut, they release a volatile chemical that can irritate the eyes, causing tears. The tinted lenses help to filter out the harsh onion fumes, making the cutting process more comfortable for the person wearing them.

Sadiron: A sadiron is a type of flat iron used for pressing clothes. It was commonly used before the advent of electric irons. Sadirons were typically made of cast iron and had a flat, smooth bottom surface. They would be heated on a stove or in a fire until hot, and then used to press or smooth out wrinkles in fabric.

Hat stretchers were used to maintain the shape of hats or to resize hats that had become too small or misshapen.

Hat stretcher: A hat stretcher is a device used to stretch and shape hats. It typically consists of a wooden or metal frame that can be adjusted to fit different hat sizes. Hat stretchers are inserted into the crown of a hat and expanded to stretch the material, allowing it to be reshaped or enlarged.

Grafting tool: This is a specialized tool used by gardeners and horticulturists for grafting plants. Grafting is a technique where a part of one plant, known as the scion, is joined with another plant, called the rootstock.

This is done to create a new plant with combined characteristics. Grafting tools vary in design but typically feature a sharp blade for making precise cuts on the scion and rootstock, as well as a mechanism to hold the scion and rootstock together firmly.

unusual antique tools identification
Antique ivory thread winders were used to organize and store threads.

Ivory thread winder: An ivory thread winder is a small spindle-like tool used for winding threads or yarn. It was commonly made from ivory or bone and often featured intricate carvings or designs. Thread winders were used to organize and store threads, keeping them neat and tangle-free. The thread or yarn would be wound around the spindle, and the tool could be easily carried in a sewing kit or pocket for convenient access to thread when needed.

Cherry pitter: A cherry pitter is a handheld tool used to remove pits from cherries. It typically consists of a handle and a plunger with sharp prongs at the end. The cherry is placed in a holder, and when the plunger is pressed down, the prongs pierce the cherry allowing the pit to be easily removed. Cherry pitters save time and effort when preparing large quantities of cherries for cooking, baking, or canning.

How to Accurately Determine Value And Carry Out Unusual Antique Tools Identification

Determining the value of unique antique tools can be a complex process that requires careful research and evaluation. Here are some key steps that collectors can take to accurately determine the value of these items:


Collectors should begin by researching the specific tool they are interested in. They can consult reference books, online resources, and specialized forums or communities dedicated to antique tools. Gathering information about the tool’s history, manufacturer, rarity, and any notable features or variations will help in assessing its real worth.


The condition of an antique tool significantly affects its value. Collectors should examine the tool closely for any damage, missing parts, repairs, or alterations. Originality is highly valued, so tools with minimal wear and original finishes command higher prices. It is crucial to factor in any restoration or refinishing that might have been done, as this can impact the tool’s authenticity and value.

Rarity and Demand

The rarity of a tool plays a crucial role in determining its value. Tools that were produced in limited quantities or have unique features are generally more sought after by collectors. Additionally, during unusual antique tools identification, assessing the current demand for a particular type of tool in the antique market can provide insights into its value. Rare or highly desirable tools are often priced higher due to their scarcity.

Manufacturer and Markings

Tools produced by reputable manufacturers or those associated with renowned craftsmen or companies tend to hold higher value. Researching the manufacturer’s history, quality of craftsmanship, and reputation can help determine the tool’s worth. Also, markings such as logos, serial numbers, or maker’s stamps can provide valuable clues regarding the tool’s origin and authenticity.

Comparative Analysis

Comparing the tool with similar items that have been sold in the past can provide a benchmark for its value. Collectors can explore auction records, sales listings, and antique tool marketplaces to find comparable tools and their sale prices. This comparative analysis helps to gauge the current market value and potential demand for the specific tool.

Expert Opinion

Seeking the advice of experts, appraisers, or seasoned collectors can provide valuable insights into the value of unique antique tools. Professionals with specialized knowledge can offer guidance based on their experience and expertise. It’s essential to consult multiple experts to gather diverse perspectives and ensure accuracy in assessing the tool’s value.

unusual antique tools identification
Professional appraisers are experts at determining the real worth of antiques.

Keeping up with current market trends in the antique tool collecting community is crucial. Factors such as changes in demand, emerging collecting trends, and shifts in the popularity of certain tool categories can influence the value of unique antique tools. Staying informed about market dynamics helps collectors make informed decisions regarding the value of their items.

Accurately determining the value of unique antique tools can sometimes be subjective and dependent on the preferences and interests of potential buyers. Collectors should be prepared for variations in prices and understand that the value of an item can fluctuate over time based on market conditions and demand.

If you’re not sure whether your approach to unusual antique tool identification is correct, expert appraisers from Appraisily can easily help you. These professionals have decades of experience and exposure in appraising antique items and assets.

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