They could be spindles for the pass thru or passage knob sets. For the old style Yale style knob sets. Closets or doors that wouldn't be locked from either side. We would hack saw them off if they were too long. And the steel was soft enough, that you could put marks in it with the slotted set screws in the knobs. The longer size was/is institutional grade.
Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
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