Joe for Michael 5260
Re: The Holes
Sun Apr 14, 2019 18:32

Michael, during an experiment I undertook in 2006, I evaluated a number of "tools" which might have been used to punch the ransom note holes. One of these was the point of a 1930's vintage square, or cut nail. Using a hammer for the necessary force on a thin stack of linen writing paper positioned on a piece of pine softwood, the cut nail produced a hole in the paper alright, but it was ragged in nature and not nearly as clean and precise as the actual ransom note holes.

I tried other things as well, including a Stanley nail set, hollow steel rod, and a couple of other household items. What worked best by far, was the concave head of a finishing nail, about two inches in length. In this exercise, the nail is held in an inverted position and the hammer strikes the point of the nail. I discovered the edge of the nail head that I selected was sharp enough to cut the paper effectively, while the concave or recessed head of the nail, provides a place for the removed paper "chads" to collect. Very similar in concept to how a standard paper punch works.

I have a little demonstration I prepared this weekend to summarize my previous evaluation. I'll post it as soon as I can scan it at work and upload the image.

By the way, the ladder builder used standard round nails in the construction of the ladder, which were of the same make and type found in the keg in Hauptmann's garage. These were type 8d common wire (round) nails.

  • The HolesMichael 5260 for Joe, Fri Apr 12 12:55
    Hi Joe. You are correct about the holes in the Mersman table being larger than the holes in the ransom notes. What does this say about a person trying to achieve a high level of precision ( why I... more
    • cut nailsAnonymous, Thu Apr 25 18:32
      the ladder did not use cut nails. Pittsburgh common nails with a head and point, just like the keg at BRH's place.
    • Re: The Holes — Joe for Michael 5260, Sun Apr 14 18:32
    • Re: The HolesMichael For Michael 5260 (a.k.a. Script), Sat Apr 13 12:58
      Criminals are notoriously lazy? Sorry but I have to disagree with this. Regardless, I cannot see how the word "lazy" would apply to Hauptmann and/or anyone connected to this crime. I think you are... more
    • the table holesRichard E Sloan, Sat Apr 13 10:13
      Michael brings up a good point, which leads to another question: -- the writer of the ransom notes would have had to take off the table top every time he would punch the holes. That doesn't seem... more
      • Re: the table holesMichael 5260 for Richard, Sun Apr 14 11:24
        Rich, take a look at the photographs of the handwritten confession underneath the Mersman Table. Notice the circular stain line in the center of the table where the pedestal of the table would be... more
      • According to Ludovic Kennedy in The Airman and the Carpenter, when describing Highfields he says: "Visiting the place today one is struck by how small-scale everything is." (See page 50) Things,... more
      • Re: the table holesMichael For Richard, Sat Apr 13 13:20
        The "key" to the secret symbol are those holes. The idea that anyone would come up with an identifier like this shows me they thought this out. I look at the wall safe Hauptmann made in his garage to ... more
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