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Guess the Object #1A Wolsley Sheep Shearing Company Screwdriver on a White Background. Brass and Metal with 'WOLSELEY' Impressed into the Center.


Back in July, we posted our first ever #guessthatobject challenge by featuring an unusual little metal object. Round, with two flat metal prongs, and marked ‘Wolseley’, this item was very familiar to a lot of our readers!


First Image: Lot 66: A Vintage Australian Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Brass & Steel Screwdriver (8.5cm dia.)


With the clue of a sheep, many correctly guessed that the item was a screwdriver for a handshearing device - in particular, one made by The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Established by Frederick York Wolseley, a New South Welshman who was a pioneer in shearing technology. As the inventor of the first commercially successful machinery for sheep shearing, it made the arduous process of hand shearing much easier, sped up the process and improved the quality of the wool shorn. Quickly becoming part of the essential fabric of the Australian farming landscape since its introduction in the late 1880s, this simple item reflects a fascinating history of innovation within Australia. 


For a museum example, see The National Museum of Australia’s shearing handpiece and screwdriver, accession no. 2013.0012.0002


[Caption Right: A Black & White Image of Four Men in the Process of Shearing Sheep.

Source: Brooks, G., ‘Men in Shearing Shed at Bungaree, SA’ (GN07458), c.1925, via The History Trust of South Australia.]