that solved the problem of what this thing is.
At the same time, I sent an email and a Flickr link to the Minnesota Historical Society, and I got a reply tonight from MHS, and here's what they had to say:
Your inquiry about a mystery tool was just forwarded to me. It looks like it may have been floating in our Flickr queue for a while – I apologize for the delay. I have two guesses on the tool’s identity. It looks like either:
1.) A shell crimper, used to reload shotgun shells
2.) A saw set, used to bend the teeth on a saw
I see from your Flickr photo set that you’ve already had the tool identified as a saw set. I can tell you that “A.F. Bruchholz” refers to August F. Bruchholz, president of Minneapolis-based Northern Machinery Company. Northern did make saw sets, so that is probably a safe bet. The Minnesota Historical Society has a couple of early 1900s Northern catalogs in its library. It might be interesting to look through them sometime to see if your tool shows up.
Interesting to find the local connection on this piece of history. Still, knowing it's a saw set, and knowing how a band saw works, I can't quite picture how this tool works. The point (no pun intended) is to off-set the teeth in the saw blade a little bit to remove the saw dust and improve the cut, and this thing must sproing the teeth out a little bit in a systematic fashion.
Ah, the simple mysteries of life.