ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT LEAD SEAL HAND PRESS – RARE
EARLY TO MID 20TH CENTURY INSPECTOR’S TOOL:
Recently found in the American Midwest, this United Seal
Company hand operated Hot Press Tool was used for
clinching lead security seals that were placed on
packing crates and containers to prevent tampering and
theft. Each of the jaws is fitted with an emblem discs
to emboss the lead disc on the seal - one having "U.S."
and the other has the Flaming Bomb insignia of the U.S.
Army Ordnance Department.
I contacted the United Seal Company and they identified
the press as one of their products, produced many years
ago under government contract for the US Army, but they
were unable to determine exactly when this particular
press was manufactured. They did tell me that the
design has changed very little since it was first
designed in the early part of the 20Th
Century and any changes to the design have been so
minimal as to go unrecorded.
Given the area in which the press was found, it may have
been used by an inspector or shipment supervisor at Rock
Island Arsenal or at any one of the several ammunition
production plants that operated throughout the mid-west
during either of the World Wars.
Measuring 5 ˝” long and 2” high at the jaws, the press
is in like new condition and functions properly. Both
discs leave clear impressions as can be seen on the
sample lead seal that accompanies the sale of the
Ordnance Department tools and stamps didn’t pass into
the surplus market in any quantity and they seldom
appear on the market, making them a rare collecting
field in their own right. This would be an interesting
piece to add to your collection of US Army ammunition or
to display with a packing crate from one of the
arsenals. (0203) $250