We have had a mysterious object at the farmhouse under consideration. We first noticed it when we were cleaning years of accumulated leaves and debris off the front steps. It was a black wrought iron piece of barstock twisted around with each end planted firmly in the concrete. We thought perhaps it was the remnant of an old handrail support, but it didn't make any sense. We've seen old black and white photos of the house and there was never anything mounted to the steps.
But life goes on and gets busy and we forgot all about our iron oddity. Until watching an episode of "This Old House" on PBS. We love the show, although Jeff calls it more of a "what's possible" show rather than a "reality remodel" (their budgets must be astronomical, they never live in the house through the renovations, the detail and craftsmanship is beyond the scope of any other crew, etc.). Well, they were wrapping up a whole house restoration project and went to a local handcrafted blacksmith's shop for a few final detail pieces. One was a door knocker; the other was a boot scraper. As soon as Jeff saw what the craftsman was making and how it would be mounted at the front stoop, he said that must be what our mysterious piece was. I saw immediately that he was right!
So now that we have a name for it, here is a picture of our vintage, original, handcrafted boot scraper (that makes it sound much grander than it is, but it's nice to have an explanation for the otherwise random bit of metal sticking up on our steps)!