The Family of Rosa Anna Abbott and John Joseph LaValle

Abbott Ice and Packing Plant Grapple

Mystery Artifact--front faceMystery Artifact--back face
Grapple from the Abbott Ice and Packing Plant, Carnegie, PA, seen from the front and the back, 8 1/4" wide by 17" long when closed. Donley Collection. The text is identical on both sides, "A J Hellis & Co Pittsburg, PA. Patented March 1, 1870". Click on either of the images for a larger photograph.

The U.S. Patent Office issued the patent for this grapple to Seymour Rogers of Pittsburgh on March 1, 1870. See Patent No. 100330. The grapple is used upside down from the orientation in the photograph. The two spikes in the jaws grab onto the sides of an overhead beam, and they dig into the beam as weight is hung on the downward-pointing single hook. The grapple can be easily moved from one location to another. The patent application cites hoisting hay bales as one of many uses. According to Marjorie Arnett's father, who worked at Farmer Peet's Meat Packing Plant in Michigan in the mid-1900s, this tool was used in packing plants primarily to hang meat. But it was also used for a variety of other secondary purposes. He said that the tool was old. So, apparently, it is not used in packing plants anymore. Rose saved this when the packing plant closed in 1945. Harold and Janice Donley inherited it in 1974, when Rose passed away. See the Abbott Ice and Packing Plant Story for more about the packing plant.