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Local News

February 26, 2014

Do you know what this is?

OSKALOOSA —

This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm is a boot jack.

Several people submitted their guesses to the identity of the artifact.

June Van Haaften wrote via email: “In the Feb. 20 issue it is a picture of a boot remover.

Placing your heel in the V makes it easy to remove your boot.

Dorothy Vos also wrote via email: “The artifact is a boot remover.  Made out of wood, the end prongs allow you to put the heel of your boot in so you can remove your boot easier.”

Dan Kalbach also wrote in his email: “The item pictured appears to be a "boot jack".  These allowed one to insert the upper back portion of a boot heel into the cut-out, while holding the flat portion with the other foot.  A boot could be removed in this manner without having to sit down.  Some were made with a leather lining in the cutout to avoid scuffing the boot, and still others were made of cast iron.”

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact. She wrote: “Boot Jack

One of the most basic household helpers on a farm is the Boot Jack. Conveniently placed by the back door, muddy boots and shoes can be removed by sliding the heel into the fork and stepping on the flat brace at the back of the boot jack. This basic wooden jack has been the pattern for many inventors designs.

During the last half of the 19th century, boot jacks were made in cast iron, wood and brass. Over 230 patents have been taken out since 1852 for various designs of boot jacks. Some of the patents were never manufactured, for some only the prototype was made, and many designs were mass produced.

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