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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 press.   

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)  $195


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