Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Toy

My newest toy just arrived - a Cummins Initial Machine! It's dated 1889, and looks like this.

It's used it to punch perforated letters into leather sweatbands on hats. You spin the big wooden knob in the middle, which turns a dial with letters around the outside, to select the desired letter. Then you slip the sweatband into a slot below the dial, push down on the knob like a lever, and little metal pins perforate the sweatband to create the letter. The letters come out looking like this.

When every single guy on the street used to wear a hat, lots of hats looked alike, and most theaters, nightclubs and restaurants had hat check booths to hold men's hats while they were in their establishment, it was handy to have your initials in your hat to make sure you received the right one back.

I'm happy to be able to give this tool a new useful life, and look forward to many years together marking the size into ready-to-wear hats, customer initials on custom hats, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I'll bet you can even spell out McGregor with that thing. I wonder how many of these things are still out there? Talk about an esoteric tool! Believe it or not, I have one just like it.