I picked up this odd tool for $1.00. I have no clue at all what it is for. It feels very sturdy, and the metal that the shaft is made from is six sided like an allen key, and looks a bit like that metal as well, with a black coating. The shaft runs through the handle and is attached to a washer at the end. The regularity in manufacture suggests it was modified or pieced together from a manufactured tool and not owner made. The dealer I bought it from thought the end was hammered flat from the tool, like a fishtail chisel, but to me it looks like there is almost too much metal on the flattened area for this to have happened. There are a few faint file marks on the sides of the flattened area, and the shape is a smooth curve. I might use it as a back scratcher or fireplace poker, but would be very interested to find out what it really was for.
After looking at this some more, and playing around with it, I wonder if it is for stuffing a sofa or bed or something.
On 2 September 2008 Thomas Conroy added:
Looks like a stuffer to me too. My first thought was “golf ball,” then “horse collar.” It took a bushel of feathers to make one golf ball in the days before gutta-percha replaced “featheries.” Stuffing kits are sometimes shown in books on golf antiques, I think. For horse collar stuffers, I would start by trying Salaman’s “Encyclopedia of Leatherworking Tools.”
I looked, and there is a page of stuffers, mostly for horse collars. There are some similar shapes, but all of the ones pictured have serrated tips, not smooth like this one. I imagine the serrated tips would be important if you were trying to manipulate stuffing material.