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I know what it is

I have emailed the local Librarian and this is what she said...

You will be happy to know that the machine and the business have been identified. One of our Local History volunteers says that the photo was taken at a basket factory. The machines are being used to make rope baskets. The rope is fed into the machine and turned on the circular platforms. In the photo you can see the lighter colored baskets atop the darker cylinders. The cylinder is turned by a foot pump, hence the bended knees. The stack of material in the right background is rope. I hope this solves your mystery adequately. Thanks for involving our library in your quest!

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