With time, the ropes would loosen and the mattress would sag, and this tool was made by the farmer to tighten the ropes periodically. NOT SOMETHING THAT WAS USED AFTER ROPE BEDS WENT OUT ABOUT 1800, SO THEY TENDED TO BE DISCARDED OR MADE INTO SOMETHING ELSE. Therefore you will not see this original colonial wooden tool very often!!
It is hand made of hard maple, to provide strength and protect against the stresses of turning and tightening. It also has 2 ANTIQUE IRON NAILS going through it in each direction again to add reinforcement and added strength. It is nicely hand planed along the surfaces, with hand-mitered/whittled edges. The large U-shaped part at one end was chiselled/carved out. This was meant to put over the ropes and pull them together, and tightening them, to provide a tighter, flatter surface.
The hole at the top would have a large dowel or stick put through it, the ends of which provided the handholds to turn the main shaft. Most of the ones you see are missing the dowel, as it was cannibalized for some other project after rope beds were no longer used, or they simply broke during use due to the stresses put into the rope tightening. This one is about 14" long and about 2" on each side. Nice early wood patina and appearance. EVEN STILL HAS THE ORIGINAL CORD USED TO HANG IT FROM A HOOK ON THE WALL.Came out of an early Revolutionary War Period Massachusetts estate. Would make a great colonial or hearth or kitchen or early bedroom decorator. You can obviously also use it with your antique rope bed if you have one. The item "RARE Early Antique COLONIAL ROPE BED TIGHTENER, Hand Made From Wood, Hearth" is in sale since Monday, May 13, 2019. This item is in the category "Antiques\Furniture\Beds & Bedroom Sets\1800-1899". The seller is "marvinsmom9" and is located in Hampden, Massachusetts. This item can be shipped worldwide.