Do You Know What This Is?

“What is this pool in the middle of nowhere.”

A: “It’s a water reserve for fire fighting”

“Metal component dragging on the bottom of a Chevy Traverse”

A: “That’s your driveshaft.”

“Found this stone on a beach in northern LP Michigan, it’s about 2 inches across and is strangely light for its size. The holes on top look man made, along with what I assume to be the characters D11 111.5”


A: “Not ballast, they used regular round stone for that. Based on the area you found it, petobego pond area was a large Marl clay quarry for the Elk Rapids Portland cement co. My best educated guess is it was a processed and fired piece of marl clay as a quality test. Hence the markings for a batch number. I am on board of that region’s underwater preserve council and trained underwater archeologist….. suggest you take to Elk Rapids historical museum for confirmation. Very nice and knowledgeable folks there.”

“From India most likely, made of iron and opens like a treasure chest. 3 handles and a latch.”

A: “It’s a Paan Daan, a ceremonial box used to hold betel leaves and nuts. Apparently Betel leaves have a narcotic effect when chewed.”

“This large, ceramic, turquoise fire hydrant looking thing has been in the family for decades. Resembles some sort of large lantern, but still unsure.”

A: “I believe it’s a small heater, probably gas. Mostly decorative to protect people from the flame.”


“Some type of measuring device with a tiny light.”

A: “This is a linen tester. Originally used by printers to look at detail/patterns of fine linen paper, now used mostly as a loupe to check registration and close up detail on press sheets. Note the measurements and markings unique to this vs. a normal magnifying loupe, it’s to count the thread pattern of the paper. Totally old school craftsman printer tool. I have 4-5 from my dad. This one is in great shape! Corrected the spelling on loupe.”

“Mountable brass hardware with turnable sort of Z-shaped hook”

A: “It’s a window latch for old windows”

“Can someone identify what is inside this 5 gallon jug of wine that is at least 25 years old? Found in a deceased grandparent’s basement.”

A: “It’s a SCOBY (think kombucha) sometimes it happens, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s fine. You more than likely have vinegar now.”

“Part of Machine. Unsure of function.”

A: “It’s a banding machine used to secure loads onto pallets”

“Pipes running throughout a wooded area. Spotted near a quarry in PA. What are they for?”

A: “They are for tapping syrup sap to make syrup. They no longer use taps and buckets (for large scale production), they string it back with pipes to a central large collector like this.”

“Metal (copper?) key chain from Japan with oddly shaped parts that either rotate or slide. The little tag says ‘Huis Ten Bosch’ which according to google is a Dutch theme park in Japan.”

A: “It’s a novelty anchor, in miniature.”

“A tool found on a family farm. Looks to small for a hog to fit through. It looks like there was text on the box, but we can’t make out what it said.”

A: “Applicator for livestock fly spray”

“Found on Penns campus in Philly, made of metal, US quarter for scale. Some potentially private information on the paper script inside (not sharing the writings).”

A: “It looks like a geocache. It is a treasure hunting game, the information on the paper is probably names and dates of visit.”

“What is this large metal rod in back of house – Id like to know if it can be removed! Maybe it is a lightning rod? We live at a slightly higher elevation in the city.”

A: “Antenna pole from TV antenna”

“Old vacuum tube on the wall in the living room in my new (1910) home. The thing I’m holding is the cover.”

A: “It’s what we used to call a bee hive light. Sometimes used to provide a visual cue to a hearing impaired person that the phone or door bell is ringing.”

“What is this metal object roughly the size of a hand, guessing its around 700-800 grams, solid metal that is matte except for the round section.”

A: “Artificial hip replacement

“What is this sort of sliding meter sort of thing I always see located near train and tram tracks in the UK?”

A: “All signs are explained here.”

“Can someone identify this weird metal plaque inside this tiny pocket we found on the sidewalk in front of our flat?”

A: “It’s a luggage tag that has not yet been engraved.”

“About 2″ tall hand carved marble cup. Is at least 110 years old. I was told these were found on the desks of wealthy men. What is it?”

A: “It’s an Indian incense burner, made of soap stone.”

“Wooden block with 2 screws and a spring in between”

A: “It’s a card holder”

“What is this large wooden board with movable red and white beads on the rim? Looks like game (table) with beads to keep score, but what type of game?”

A: “It’s called a Billard Nicholas. It appears to be a French game of some sort.”

“My coworker saw this toilet in the women’s restroom at the Huntsville Space Center. Why is it shaped this way?”

A: “It is a woman’s urinal. It encourages women to urinate from a standing position without the need to sit on a shared seat.”

“In the middle of the wall in my 1906 house”

A: “It’s a capped-off gas line from when they used gaslighting.”

“This is an on-gate blocking road access to some cell towers. Why so many locks and how would someone even open it?”

A: “You can open the gate by unlocking only one padlock. The way it’s designed means that multiple people can use the gate, and if one person loses their keys, only their padlock needs to be replaced. As opposed to one padlock with many keys, you’d need to give tons of people the new key.”

“This little plastic basket/holder inside the far corner of a trolley — I asked the supermarket staff, they had no idea.”

A: “It’s a bitz box (a place for small items, such as pens, batteries, etc.).”

“Found this in Guam in shallow water, 3 meters in diameter. Never seen anything like it.”

A: “This is absolutely a rocket part.”

“What is the S-shaped metal ornament on this house?”

A: “It’s an anchor plate or wall washer. It’s meant to keep masonry in place and made aesthetically pleasing because they’re visible. There is a bolt going on the other side, in the center, holding the bricks in place.”

“My house (built in the mid ’70s) has one of these in almost every room.”

A: “The 3-prong ones were for TV and FM antennas, and the center one was for an antenna rotator to get better reception.”

“What are these shredded balls on my property?”

A: “Juniper-hawthorn rust — it’s a fungal disease. It starts as a gall then the tentacles appear around spring or after rain. It probably won’t kill this tree but it can seriously mess up secondary host apple trees. The only way to get rid of it is to prune then burn the removed branches. Don’t forget to disinfect your tools after.”

“I found this while cleaning out an old cedar closet. Had a bendy spring in the middle. Looks like it hangs on a door?”

A: “I think it’s a vintage hat display stand. If you Google it, there are a lot that have the springy bit and the pull cord (it probably lets you pull the hat down and to the sides to examine it rather than touching the hat itself). Yours seems to be held by sliding onto a table edge rather than sitting on the table itself. So you’re holding it sideways.”

“Opposite of hole-y: what is this not-really-spiky kitchen spoon for?”

A: “It’s a spaghetti server.”

“I just bought a house and this weird triangle holder thing is by my kitchen sink. What is it?”

A: “It’s a dishtowel holder. Take the corner of your dishtowel and put it to the back of the triangle, then pull down on the towel and it’s held in place.”

“A cast iron circle with raised edges and a zero”

A: “I think it’s a support for an old waffle maker.”

“I bought these at a thrift store. Thought it was a bar spoon but I’m not certain.”

A: “They’re ice cream spoons.”

“It is made of steel/iron and is heavier than it looks. We’re not sure if it’s a tool or some type of kitchenware.”

A: “Apparently it’s a meat tenderizer.”

“Found this buried in the garden, very tough glass.”

A: “My father repaired TVs for decades. I confirm this one is the glass back.”

“Found these when clearing out my dad’s wardrobe. Any idea what you’d hang on them?”

A: “It’s a tie hanger.”

“I found this in our kitchen drawer when I moved in, none of my flatmates have any idea. What is this thing?”

A: “It’s a part of a tea infuser.”

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