LAST week's Craven Curiosity had most people flummoxed, if the number of suggestions was anything to go by. However Anne Lindsay of Steeton, suggested it was perhaps a small spade, or trowel, or some sort of file. Tony Phillips of Barnoldswick said it could be a 'riffler' -also a type of rasp or file, while David Heather, from Settle, suggested a piano tuning key, adding he would be interested to find out what it really was.

It was from the medical world and was, in fact, a plaster of Paris spreader.

Experts from Craven Museum and Gallery tell us: "A plaster of Paris spreader is a medical tool used in the applying of bandages to broken bones. The spreader would be used to apply the plaster to the bandage, which then set to become an orthopaedic cast.

"The spreader is a metal tool with a broad flat end and a turned wooden handle. This particular spreader was donated to the museum by Murray’s chemists which was located on the High Street in Skipton."

Plaster of Paris is so named because it was extensively mined from Montmartre in Paris district. But its use predates the industrial revolution and examples have been found on the insides of pyramids.

All items featured in this column can be viewed at the Craven District Council-run museum which is located at Skipton Town Hall. It is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Meanwhile, we are inviting guesses about this week’s mystery object. Suggestions can be emailed to, to arrive no later than noon on Monday.