My brother is always finding unusual things at Pennsylvania sales. He showed me this and said "I think it's a Civil War tourniquet." I looked at the object, and replied, "No..."
Well it is indeed the brass frame for what is known at Petit's spiral / screw tourniquet, a 1718 invention that was used for amputations by most military surgeons froms the late 18th century on through the Civil War.
Here"s one in use from http://householdphys...r17.php?page=75:
Revolutionary to Civil War screw tourniquet
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