What in the WORLD?

Another What-In-The-WORLD?-Wednesday is upon us! This is where you guess what the mystery historical object is that we’ve pictured. If you’ve already been to our Facebook page, you know the gem we’ve pulled from our collections. If you haven’t, take a look now and without scrolling down for the answer, try to come up with what this item might be!

What was it used for? Who would have owned this? What period in history is this from?

For those who guessed on Facebook, you were very close in thinking that it was a type of mold or casting. After I revealed the hint that it relates to Maine recreation, Pamela Hobbs guessed it might be a fishing lure. VERY CLOSE!! This is in fact a mold for lead fishing sinkers.

This sinker mold was made from two wooden blocks with a fish shaped space cut half into each one for making lead fishing sinkers. The two blocks are held together with hand carved wooden pin. It comes from the Moosehead Lake/ Greenville, Maine area, and was found in a building that used to be Treadwell’s Salmon Shore Camps (in operation from 1960-75).  We don’t have a date on our records, but based on fishing history books here at MHS, we speculate it is circa 1900. I’m going to dig up more about this object to find a better date. If you are a fishing enthusiast and can provide more info, feel free to leave a note on our blog or facebook page!

The sinker may have looked something like this:

Maine banned the use of lead materials in sinkers, but it’s still a hot topic of debate between other states and the EPA.

Water birds can die from lead poisoning after swallowing lead fishing tackle. Eating just one lead sinker can poison a loon.Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

See more info about this item on our museum catalog, PastPerfect, here.

Stay tuned for next week’s mystery object!

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