Q: We have an ax with a square hole in the blade. A small square piece with a circular hole in one end fits into the square hole in the blade. The words “Bell System” are stamped on the ax. Do you know what it was used for?
A: This type of ax was used by Bell Telephone linemen. The ax was used to cut notches into utility poles. The blunt end of the blade could be used as a hammer, and the square hole could be used as a wrench for turning square nuts. When the “small piece” is inserted into the square hole, it can be used as a wrench on round nuts. Old-timers say the ax was also used to set insulators on poles or to install metal “steps” up the side of poles. Value: about $50.