Detecting Days’ Discarded Discoveries

25th June 2015 — 25 Comments
2015-06-24 10.01.24

© JW

Towards the end, when my active detecting days were few and far between, I became rather complacent and uncritical about the finds I was making. Unless the artefact was good, gold or looked significant in some other way, I simply assigned it to a tin box. I have used the word advisedly; the find wasn’t placed carefully, swaddled in cotton wool and recorded on a database. This was my ‘junk’ box!

That long forgotten repository came to light the other day when I was searching for something else … and I now find the contents, however mundane, very fascinating! It’s also some kind of proof to the unbelievers that I was once a metal detectorist. Here’s the contents of the box: 🙂

2015-06-17 13.30.15

© John Winter – Click to enlarge


I have extracted two or three items, sincerely hope that you approve of my choice and also gain some insight along the way. First up is a small but very evocative find reminding me of my childhood.

As a small child, I used to sleep in the same bedroom as my mother. My father worked most nights down the pit. Like most woman of that era she wore a corset having a ‘hose supporter’ attached to the bottom, so her stockings could be easily removed – like this one I found whilst detecting.


© JW – Fastener 35mm in length – Click to enlarge

$T2eC16dHJGYE9nooji7FBQ519PDVPg~~60_57-1I was often still awake when she came to bed and when she divested herself (in the dark) of the corset and stockings, she must have had an overwhelming feeling of relief and ecstasy as she scratched, pleased to be rid of that infernal clothing. It was a somewhat noisy and pleasurable ritual I shall never forget.

The example shown above is the ubiquitous velvet grip hose supporter clasp sold all over the world by the George Frost Company of Boston, Massachusetts. The original advertisement is from about 1908. ‘The name is stamped on every loop’. Click to enlarge.




Next up, as DiggerDave says in his videos, is a copper alloy clothes fastener probably from the 16th century. The body shape of Tudor hooked fasteners are varied and styles are numerous. The definitive work on these items is a book by Brian Read, Hooked Clasps and Eyes, which I reviewed in an earlier blog, unfortunately lost. The book is highly recommended.




The next item is one often found by detectorists, but not always recognised. Circa 19th to early 20 century, it is simply a bracket for securing one end of a brass stair-carpet rod. After fitting a bracket to each end of the carpet rod, the pointed projection was driven into the stair riser, and the lug was secured to the tread with a tack or screw. Here’s a similar example on the the UKDFD.

Stair Rod

© JW – 30 mm in length

I have other items to show you, but will leave them for another time. I’m not sure what they are. Will need some help. 🙂


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25 responses to Detecting Days’ Discarded Discoveries

  1. Thanks for sharing John. Thanks for mentioning diggerdave. The only man I know who makes detecting sexy (haaaa). I found two stair carpet rod brackets on Sunday. The buggers give a real good signal.

    Thanks John

    Stephen “foci” Robinson

  2. another interesting post John.
    I found a pipe tamper last week while looking through my box. a simple one but now able to recognise it after a few years more experience.

  3. I remember the old metal stair rods and their fixings well.

    Before that type we had the wooden ones but never see images of their metal holders.Jerry.

  4. I was a carpet fitter for 6 years and when i found a stair carpet rod fixing i didn’t recognise it either lol!

  5. Another helpful post full of sound knowledge of some of the many unrecognised found items which are regularly discarded as junk but each has served a useful purpose in the past and most we older guys remember them being in use, don’t forget men of the same era wore suspenders to hold up their socks (Stockings) and were fastened just below the knee, the fasteners were identical to the one you have posted but not attached to a corset.
    There is what appears to be another interesting item in the top right of your tin it looks very much like a pipe tamper there is the resurrection of another of your past blog postings.

  6. Lots of interesting stuff. Is it a small tack hammer in the centre?

  7. Another very interesting article John. I think anyone who has ever swung a detector in earnest must have a similar tin to yours. I’ve only been detecting for a year and a half now and being the hoarder I am, I have umpteen boxes of junk finds which have now overspilled from the house into the shed! One of these days, I will get round to sorting through them and who knows what might be hiding in there!

  8. Hi John and all,
    Had a bad night with my dog Sam and he is much improved this I decided that I will go out detecting with “Oriental Sal” for a couple of hours.
    Not a lot to shout about over a couple of hours and I was getting tired, but on the way out of the field I got a dig me signal.
    I expect you will only need one guess as to what came out.(Yes a stair rod fixing).
    I just sat there holding the find and laughing for quite some time.
    Thanks John for this thread you made my day.LOL Jerry.

  9. Great read! I found something just like that large round thing on the right. Any idea what it might be?:)

  10. Another good post John so thank you, and thank you for the mention 🙂

  11. Look forward to your next post John. There’s enough material in that box for three of four blogs.

  12. “… it is simply a bracket ..” Well.not that simple to me. It looks cast rather than machined so I’m thinking fairly old. It also has me thinking that it was used on a stairwell to hold a “rug ‘ in place that was worthy of a rod rather than some upholstery tacks from the store. I’m thinking no one would dare punch holes with tacks in a rug that was worthy of showcasing by putting it on the stairway. It would have to be removed for cleaning even if it were just to remove the dust using a ” rug beater “:

    I’ve found something similar. It was simply a ” darn tack ” and I didn’t have to give it much thought.

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