HG Antique Toolbox Oct. tool

Can you identify this mystery tool, which is part of the collection of the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum?


Can you identify this object from the collection of the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum in Lancaster?

It’s about 7 inches in length.

Send your guess, including your full name and the town you live in, to Mary Ellen Wright at features@lnpnews.com, with “Antique Toolbox” in the subject line, or mail to Mary Ellen Wright/Antique Toolbox, LNP Media Group, P.O. Box 1328, Lancaster, PA 17608-1328. 

Email is preferred since regular mail access is limited because LNP employees are working remotely.

Please submit answers by Monday, Nov. 16, and we’ll reveal the correct answer in LNP on Nov. 26.

HG Antique Toolbox from September

Jennifer Royer, curator at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, identifies this tool as a paint mill.


Last month’s mystery tool was a lookalike for a couple of beloved kitchen gadgets, so many of our readers’ guesses were related to the culinary world.

We received lots of responses filled with memories of grandmothers and mothers using an old-fashioned food mill for making applesauce or canning tomatoes.

Others were sure the tool shown in September’s LNP was a popcorn popper, potato ricer or coffee grinder.

But what was ground in this vintage tool, according to the staff of Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, was the pigments for paint.

Jennifer Royer, curator at Landis Valley, says the tool is a paint mill — made of steel, including the handle.

This paint mill was patented in 1840 and has the name “Adams” cast on the crank handle, Royer says.

It was clamped to a shelf or work bench in order to turn on the central pivot of a circular gear, she says.

The pigment for the paint had to be put through the mill several times to result in the desired consistency, Royer says.


• Elizabeth Gunnion of Strasburg guessed the tool was for grinding herbs to dye textiles.


• A potato ricer, a popcorn popper, a food mill/applesauce mill/fruit strainer, butter or apple butter churner, tool for whipping cream, coffee bean grinder, bread dough mixer, potato masher and mixing bowl.