When I spotted this, my first thought was that it would make a great line-making and design tool. When I learned that it was used for polishing buttons, I liked it even more! C. 1910-20's, it would particularly have been used for polishing buttons on uniforms, with the "teeth" of the guard closing tightly around five buttons at a time, while protecting the fabric of the coat or jacket to which they were attached. Really a smart design I think, which I'd probably hang on the wall from the hole at the end, which is also the hinge, at the ready to draw patterns when inspiration strikes!
Closed: 7 3/4" x 2". Opens to 14" long. Very good condition with a great patina and a nice weight.