The Case of the Mystery Heirloom

My friend Rachel (who runs a great Sewing and Crafting on Wednesday group) has a mystery device that we are hoping to identify. The mystery object is made out of brass and belonged to Rachel’s grandmother. It has an arm with three joints and a collapsible tripod stand. When fully collapsed it makes a flat 3″ x 4″ square.

As mentioned before this is an heirloom piece, but Rachel has never been able to figure out what it was originally intended for, as a matter of fact I’m only making the assumption that the three pieces on the bottom are even intended as a stand. For all I know the pointed end could plug into something.

Please note, I have updated this entry with more information based on reader comments. You can check them out below the next set of photos. If anyone knows what this is, or has ever seen anything like it please comment below or email at Doc AT DoctorPopular DOT Com.

Upated 10/19/07: To address a few questions and comments that have appeared in the comments below, here are some more details of the mystery heirloom piece. The piece appears to be stamped brass from sheet metal and there doesn’t appear to be any info stamped on it at all (ie patent number/country of manufacturing/company name). The tip on the end of the arm is not a clamp.

I do believe the hole in the center of the piece would have been used to hold some sort of object while the device was fully closed. If we knew exactly what the piece in the center was, we’d know what the heirloom was.

Previously I had believed the center piece held some sort magnifying lens that could be removed and place on the pointed end (as many of readers have also suspected), but I like Ben Yellin’s comment about this being a moveable/foldable candlestick holder. He says he has some and will snap some shots of them along with the instruction manual they came with. I look forward to seeing the candlestick holder on his and seeing if it fits into a hole similar to the one on this piece.

Upated 10/19/07 (evening): I believe this case is SOLVED!