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Not sure at all, my 1st thought was a soot reamer, but it looks too clean for that. Look up percussion instruments or sound effects makers.
its realllly heavy...and the inside of each one of the galvanized fins is worn smooth...there are brass rivets/nails thru each fin and those are worn down and smooth on the inside so I'm not sure its an instrument. :)
also the bottom of the wooden part is super smooth so its had to have been in contact with something while its twirled...
Mutoscope part to hold the pictures
I was looking at flapwheels like for sanding, thinking of an instrument, and a "mutoscope" even though I did not know what it was called. It seems like the latter are not usually mounted on metal, however. This is a toughie. You can see how it goes up the wooden handle and exposed the bottom part...I agree with Shayna..."What the heck?"
Any smell about it? Tobacco etc.. Can you identify the black stuff on the outer edges? heat it with a lighter and take a whiff.
Might it have something to do with "Carding" wool for turning it into yarn?
I've never seen a contraption quite like this, but I know there are several steps involved, when working with sheep's wool. Might be worth a look-see anyways?
Good Luck, let us know if you figure it out!