I don't know if this is really the oldest item in my kitchen, but of all my vintage goodies, this is one of my favourites.
Are there faster ways to chop nuts? Sure, but this way is just so much more civilized. You simply drop your shelled "nutmeats" into the little hopper, turn the crank, and let the teeth of the chopper do their thing. The chopped nuts fall into the jar, ready for use.
Can't you just picture the 1950s housewife chopping up a whole mess of nuts for her signature cheeseball?