Rt I, Honeymoon Hill, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
I found this 'thing' at a yard sale for $2.00. It is about six inches high and four inches wide, solid brass, weighing at least five pounds. I figured the 9/16 Allen wrench was worth that much. Cast in the brass on one side is 'Buffalo NY, USA'; on the other side 'Hanau Manufacturing Co.,' with '4?' on the base plate. The top plate moves from 4? to 4? inches, with the Allen wrench. Two heavy coil springs in the base are non-magnetic. There were no other numbers. That's all I knew about 'it.'
I took it to the Smoky Mountain Antique Engine & Tractor Association meeting. Some 70 men, women and children played with it, but only one man had a vague guess. He thought that one of his relatives worked with something like this.
I called Buffalo telephone information but there was no listing for Hanau. Dead end . . .
I carried this five pounds of brass with me and showed it to everyone. No one had any suggestions. A few weeks later a man came in my shop for a visit. When he saw the 'thing' he asked where I got that old 'flask compress.' In the past he had worked for a dental supply and had sold these. He referred me to a dental supply in Knoxville. I described it to the salesman and he also confirmed it, but added that it is an old one. He said the company is still in business. I assured him that the phone company did not have them listed in Buffalo. He said they are now Teledyne-Hanau, and gave me the phone number.
I then talked to an engineer at Teledyne-Hanau, who confirmed what it was. He speculated from my description that it dated in the 1940s. He was also nice enough to send me a brochure on their current flask compress, which is very similar to mine. The brochure said, 'As dentures cure they have a tendency to expand. The flask compress exerts up to 400 pounds pressure during curing cycle.'
Although this isn't an engine or tractor story, I would like to emphasize that there is a world of information out there, and many nice people who will help you find it.
And by the way, the fellow in our engine club guessed right!