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Out of the Museum

The men are right

-A +A

LINCOLN AREA ARCHIVES MUSEUM

Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

Two to two. It’s now a tie.

Last week, two women knew what the mystery item was from the previous week. This week, two men knew the identity of last week’s mystery item.

The men are now tied with the women.

But we’re not really in a battle of the sexes. We’re just trying to learn the history between our mystery items each week.

So, if you know what the item pictured above was used for and if you have more comments about it, please send answers to carolf@goldcountrymedia.com by Tuesday.

As for last week’s mystery item, it is called a stielhandgrante.

Resident Mike Smith said, “It looks like a German ‘potato masher’ grenade.”

And resident John Shutz said, “I'm pretty sure it's a World War II German hand grenade. 

Stielhandgrante, German for “stalk hand grenade,” was designed by the Germans and used during World War I and World War II, according to Lincoln Area Archive Museum docents.  The number on the grenade corresponds with the year as it was modified by adding and removing features. The distance a thrown grenade could travel was one of the improvements.  The German model 1915 was improved so that it could be thrown 30 to 40 yards, while the British Mills bomb was limited to 14 yards.

A friction system used a pull cord running through the hollow handle to ignite the fuse. The pull cord dangled from the handle’s base and could be caught in brush or debris, which could result in the fuse being lit. This could cause the grenade to explode while still on the carrier’s belt. In 1916, the base was improved so the pull cord no longer dangled outside.

In 1924, another version was built for better mobility, according to museum docents.

 During World War II, additional changes were made to make the tool more effective. An improved “bundle charge” using one handle and four to six charges tied together made it more powerful and thus, more destructive.

Bob Aitken, Lincoln Area Archives Museum member and enthusiast, donated the grenade to the downtown museum.

The Lincoln Area Archives Museum is open between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 640 5th St.

- Carol Feineman