Unidentified Piece of Metal

This piece of metal came with a few cuts and ornaments that I purchased recently. I would appreciate any help identifying just what it is.

It is made of lead and is 7/16” square at its base (not an exact 30 points so I question if it is from a font, or even of use in a print shop). As the pictures show, from the square base moving up, there is a taper and the metal then forms a cone, which terminates in a point. Where the taper begins and the shape changes from a square to a circle, there are concentric circles that get smaller as the metal reaches its point.

The point appears to be type-high (I did not measure it with a micrometer), and I thought it might be either (a) a fancy quad or (b) some sort of register mark, but its odd size and the fact that it comes to such a sever point do not indicate that either of those would have been the use of this piece of metal.

There are no pin or marks of any kind to identify it.

Any ideas?
—Jim DiRisio
The Norlu Press

image: OddMetal1.JPG


image: OddMetal2.JPG


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It’s a punch used for cutting holes. I doubt it’s lead. The round top is spring loaded and recedes into the hole upon impression. The ball at top is probably frozen because it hasn’t been used for a long time.

Pat’s correct—these are locked up in a chase and can punch holes in the appropriate place at the same time the bill head, invoice, or similar is being printed. An interesting item that has little or no practical use today. The depressable ball would get inked, and the inked image gets cut out when the impression is made—what happens to all those little round pieces of paper is what makes these messy to use.

Thanks for the expertise! I will try working the detent to get it loose.

I own some of these, and indeed the body is in lead.