Letters and Miscellanies

Mystery Tool


Content Tools

The tool on page 3 in Gas Engine Magazine, May 2005, is used to lift the lid on city water meters. The pointed straight end is used to clean debris, etc. from around the nut. The curved end pries the lid up. The socket end is 1 inch from point to flat for unlocking the lid.

Jack Guerrie
2630 Mountain View Ave.
Longmont, CO 80503
(303) 772-0873

I believe I know what the mystery tool is that was shown in the May issue.

When I was a young boy some 60 years ago, I used to watch the water meter man come around and read meters. He used a very similar tool to open the cast iron cover. There was a five-sided bolt that locked the cover in place. The five-sided socket fit this bolt. (I've always assumed that it was five sided rather than four or six so it was difficult for anyone else to open the cover.) The sharp ends were used to pry the cover up to get his hand under to lift it off.

Burch Roark
Spokane, Wash.

The tool shown in the May issue is a water department tool used to remove the weather cap on residential water shutoff valve systems. The small pick is to remove ice and dirt, etc. from the indented surface of the pipe cap protecting the shutoff roof from damage.

The five-sided socket is said to be unique to the water district tools. A long rod would then be put down the pipe to the quarter-turn shutoff valve, located about 4 feet down, below frost level. The curved hook was handy to hook over your tool belt. I used one of these 20 years ago, after retiring from a full-time job.

Robert T. Stevens
25 Canton Point Road
Canton, ME 04221

The mystery tool on page 3 of the May 2005 issue is a tool used to remove the top of a water box shutoff. I have one and have used it many times in my line of work. The top is set inside a collar and has a five-sided stud holding it in. The pointed part is used like a pick to dig out dirt or ice around the stud. The five-sided socket is to remove the stud. The curved hook is to hook the lid and lift it out.

Edward E. Wolfe
8 Spring Lake Drive
Newark, DE 19711