BrandonMello

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Mar 3, 2016
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Hey guys! I am new to metal detecting as well as this site but I am a man who loves to do his research. On this particular find I have done all of the research I can do and I am still stumped so I am hoping for some help:

Background:: The horseshoe was found in Seekonk, Massachusetts U.S.A . The area has rich colonial milling history dating back to the mid 1600's. The property I found the item on shows no settlements according to maps I have viewed which are dated at 1755. The entire area is a large swamp and impossible to traverse in any season but winter due to water level and sink holes.

So my question is, Which time period does this hunk of cast iron hail from?
(Also it seems as though the swamp has preserved much of the organic material. You cannot see from the photographs but there is some straw or hair molded to the edges. I cleaned it up the best I could but much of the metal was starting to break off so I decided to leave it alone.)


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against the wind

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Don't know all that much about horseshoes except that they are supposed to be lucky.
WELCOME TO TNET
 

DownNDirty

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Based on how wide it is I would say that it is probably from the 1700s, if not the 1600s. By width I mean the width of the flat metal, not the measurement from the outside edges of the shoe.
 

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BrandonMello

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Mar 3, 2016
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Thank you for your reply and interest in my item! Throughout my researched I have placed it around 1600 due to its overall shape like you said but the puzzling part about this horseshoe is that it seems to have cleats which were not introduced until later. That is my only objection. I have it in white vinegar right now hoping to clean it up a bit and see what the heck is stuck to it so good. In my opinion, it looks like bone/cartiladge fragments or petrified organic material.
 

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stefen

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Doubtful that its cast iron...more than likely its mild steel formed by a blacksmith...

Cast iron doesn't accumulate rust as shown which is another reason to alter its composition to steel...

There is such a massive encrustation of rust, its impossible to see its actual characteristics, but its evident that its cleated.

Cleats are used in heavy mud or ice conditions...and i'd suspect that the shoe is from the early to mid 1900's...

Just because there is no recorded development where the shoe was found doesn't make it an anomoley...horses were used as transportation and as draft animals prior to, and after the turn of the century...in fact my dad rode a Percheran to school daily just prior to WWII in central Ohio...

Shoes come loose all the time and are left along roads, trails and fields.
 

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BrandonMello

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Mar 3, 2016
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I have worked around metal all my life and I can assure you that this is iron. Also the overall shape and size is very inconsistent with any modern shoe that I find. It is far too round without any flats
 

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DownNDirty

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Thank you for your reply and interest in my item! Throughout my researched I have placed it around 1600 due to its overall shape like you said but the puzzling part about this horseshoe is that it seems to have cleats which were not introduced until later. That is my only objection. I have it in white vinegar right now hoping to clean it up a bit and see what the heck is stuck to it so good. In my opinion, it looks like bone/cartiladge fragments or petrified organic material.

If you really want to remove all of the rust then you should use electrolysis. Or if you are not so inclined you can buy a product from any auto parts store called Evaporust. It's expensive (about $24 per gallon or $9 for a pint) but it works. Soak the shoe in it for several days, and scrub it with a wire brush periodically. The rust will dissolve and leave you with a rust-free shoe (at least for a while).
 

DownNDirty

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Once the rust is gone it will be a lot easier to identify/date.
 

Davers

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I would love to find out about this one.

Please PM, me when you find out Brandonmellow.
 

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BrandonMello

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Thank you so much DnD. I'm gonna give the vinegar a shot for a week or so because I have heard its results to be comparable to electrolysis and at a few bucks a gallon it is well worth the shot. If I am unsatisfied with the results then I will certainly try the Evaporust. I think electrolysis is just going to be a little too much of a hassle for my 1 bedroom apartment lol
 

relic lover

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I hope you post more pictures of the shoe after you clean it up it's definitely different
 

DigIron2

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its a old looking joker to me,looks like you might have found it in a bottom or swamp?If you don't do the electrolysis, let it dry up some then tap off what you can with a big screw driver then take a wire brush to it.
 

eyemustdigtreasure

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Draft Horse (huge animal) Shoe, with Cleats and a Calk at the toe.
Needed TRACTION, hauling/puling heavy loads....! =\
 

GA_Boy

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It could be a Donkey shoe since it appears rather small. Most Donkey's don't need shoes but some do.
Marvin
 

gunsil

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I have worked around metal all my life and I can assure you that this is iron. Also the overall shape and size is very inconsistent with any modern shoe that I find. It is far too round without any flats

Horse shoes were never made from cast iron. Repeat, horse shoes were never made with cast iron. Cast iron is brittle and unsuited for such use and a casting could never fit many horse feet and all horse shoes are made to fit an individual hoof. There is no way you or anybody else can tell if a rusty piece of ferrous metal is steel or iron without metallurgical analysis. Shoes could be made from WROUGHT iron but not cast iron but most for hundreds of years are steel since it wears better. Wrought iron would not look like your shoe, but it would be easier to write off wrought iron if it were cleaned.
 

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stefen

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I have worked around metal all my life and I can assure you that this is iron. Also the overall shape and size is very inconsistent with any modern shoe that I find. It is far too round without any flats

Steel but not cast iron...
 

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FreeBirdTim

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Throughout my researched I have placed it around 1600 due to its overall shape

The pilgrims didn't bring horses here until around 1630, so it cannot be that old. I really don't see how you can date this horseshoe at all with the amount of crud on it. If you're basing it on the width of the shoe, I've found similar wide shaped shoes and they were from 1800's sites.

Here's one I found last year:

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pa plateau hiker

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Knock the heavy rust off with a small hammer. You won't damage the shoe beneath it at all.
 

Scrappy

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SeeeKONK! We used to say that as kids driving by it on our way to Fall River and the Cape.

Cool shoe, here's a resource from "A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America" By Ivor Hume ImageUploadedByTreasureNet.com1457192647.691431.jpg
 

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BrandonMello

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Mar 3, 2016
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Alright! Here we go, a few days into the vinegar treatment and the rust lightened up enough for me to scrape it off. It seems like I did end up losing some shoe in the process but overall we should be able to get a better look at what it really is::
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