A Journeyman’s Sprag.
Made from iron. Size 17″ inches long.
This device was used to poke through the wheels of a dram to stop it from rolling away (it would act like a brake) On the journey’s we would also use it to lock a wheel in place if it was loose, there was too much play in it. The wheel would move in and out along its bearings and force the drams off road, the sprag would keep the wheel locked in place and parallel to the rail. The iron ring guard was there to prevent the sprag from dropping through the wheel. There were two types of sprags, this type and another with a simple cross-bar guard. If a sprag wasn’t handy you would use a ring plate or fish plate.
The secret to using a ring plate as a sprag was to always keep your thumb tucked to the side or it would get crushed between the plate and the dram wheel and you would end up loosing it.