Monday, January 12, 2009

Butcher? Baker? Spark Plug Maker?

No, the mystery objects in my January 10th post have nothing to do with butchering, baking, or spark plug making, but those were all good guesses. The word “itinerant” might have helped define the field more narrowly, but Scissors Grinder and Encyclopedia Salesman can also be eliminated.

Although no competition had been announced for Best Comment, Mr. Yorkshire Pudding of Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, wrote a magnificent one: “Clearly all three items are used by traditional clockmakers,” he said. “The first is called a Whitaker's Noggin invented by Baltimore based clockmaker R. Henry Whitaker in 1857. The second is a traditional French clockwinder. The third item is a simple cogstopper (half inch gauge). I await my prize with unbridled glee.”

For sheer inventiveness, it is a top-drawer comment, worthy of emulation, and brimming with the audacity of hope. Nevertheless, I regretted to have to inform Mr. Pudding, “As Tonto used to say to The Lone Ranger, ‘Wrong, Kemosabe.’ But extremely clever!”

Therefore, Mr. Yorkshire Pudding is the recipient of a special honorary award, the coveted Medium Fries With Triple Ketchup Packet Cluster. If his noggin, Whitaker’s or otherwise, is ever in my neighborhood, I will be happy to present the award to him in person. We might even go out afterward and try to stop a cog or two.

Okay, okay, enough of this chitchat. I hear you clamoring for the right answer, so I will tell you without further delay.

Cue the ruffles and flourishes. Trumpets in the background. The answer to the burning question, “Who would use the mystery ojects shown in the January 10th post?” is (tah-DAH!):


In order of their appearance, the mystery objects are:

1. Piano String Size Gauge Tool For Tuning Repairs
2. Piano Tuning Pin Stringing Crank
3. Stainless Steel Piano Voicing Tool For Tuning, 3 Needles

The first two are self-explanatory. I have no idea how the third one is used, or whether it is also available in versions with more or fewer Needles. And I never even knew there were stainless steel pianos.

Finally, here’s a piano tuner at work using still another (and perhaps more familiar) tool of his trade:


  1. Veddy interesting. I should have known the answer might be along this line, and not auto mechanics. I watched a piano being tuned, but didn't pay close enough attention to the tools being used.

  2. I KNEW we should get our son's piano tuned!

  3. I never would have guessed and I have seen piano's tuned.

  4. Piano tuning! ?? Whodathunkit?

    Very clever, Mr. RWP.