Pole climbing irons for single pole, probably made by the General Post Office, British, 1900-1960.
Climbing irons were used by linemen maintaining open wire telephone pole routes. These poles were used in long-distance telephony, and were technically challenging, as heavy-duty solid copper wires had to be suspended, often requiring pairs of poles to support them. These poles were susceptible to weather extremes such as strong winds or heavy snow. Ladder rungs were not fitted to the poles so the linemen wore such irons around their calves and scrambled up the poles, pointed prongs on the irons providing the grip.