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
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!