Interesting and useful old store counter / work table piece, a heavy steel spool holder from the Chicago Printed String company, early 1900s vintage.
This is made to hold a blade or plain razor blade for cutting the ribbon or twine as needed - it's empty of blade currently, and we'll leave it that way for safety in shipping and handling.
It looks like a very simple job to carefully insert a new razor blade as needed - but you might just use it to hold a spool, and cut your material with a scissors as you spool it out.
It's currently holding a spool a little less than 5" long x 4" diameter, and we're including that for you. The entire piece measures about 8 1/2" long end to end, 5 1/4" tall.