Object 15: One-Legged Figures


Click for larger image. What are they?

Click for larger image. What are they?

Reference: Object 15

Size: Vegetable Oil Bottle

Recorded: September, 2012

Found: Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT

Status: Known

Material: Wood

Manufacturer: Individual Craftsman, probably from Pennsylvania

These well-used objects are now trapped in a case, but at one time they were free to explore any corner of the room. Despite having only one leg, they are quite stable and will stand forever unless something knocks them over. Each one is different, but their purpose is the same. What is it?


  • Nail holes in feet are post-use. They weren’t found when the object was in use.
  • Four pieces are missing.
  • They would not have done as well if they had two legs.

Hint 1:


“Rip Van Winkle”


Hint 2:


There we nine of them originally, and one other thing.




They’re hand made pins for the ancient bowling game of 9 Pins, as mentioned in the tale of Rip Van Winkle.  Nine-pin Bowling on Wikipedia

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  1. I know what they look like. They look like boot shapers. You put them in your boots to hold them in shape. But they may not be large enough if they’re only the size of a vegetable oil bottle. (Of course, that depends on the size of the oil bottle).

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