Only The Internet Knows What This Is

“What is this wooden ball with dice-like imprints?”

A: “It’s not wood. I’m pretty sure that’s a batting cage ball that has sat out for a long time and dried out.”

“A large machine in a residential neighborhood on the Oregon coast”

A: “It’s totally a wind turbine.”

“Found in an old cabinet, made entirely of glass with narrowing holes all the way through”

A: “It’s a flower frog used to hold flower arrangements in a vase. It’s been made obsolete by foam and gel.”

“A wooden wiener dog where the tail end is removable and the body is hollow — is this more than a decoration?”

A: “It’s a novelty crayon or pencil holder. Essentially, it’s an old, hand-painted pencil box. Its back part is a lid. Here’s something similar.”

“This was found in an old toolshed. It’s made in Sweden by Bahco. Some sort of tool?”

A: “I believe it’s for pulling out nails back when they were square. My dad had one like 20 years ago. And Bahco still makes this particular model.”

“I found this room in an abandoned building. What could this building have been for and what are these things hanging from the ceiling?”


A: “It’s a miners’ changing room. The hooks and baskets lift their work clothes up and out of the way for the next shift.”

“Found this in the yard of an old farmhouse.”

A: “They’re cobbler’s pliers used to crimp down the nails that hold a steel horseshoe to the horses’ hooves.”

“Possibly a kitchen item? Found it in a bag of kitchen things. It can be compressed by gripping.”

A: “It’s a thing for marine activities and boating called a ‘shark clip’ or longline. It’s a very clever clip to attach things to a line like a buoy. Longline fishermen also use tons of these clips for connecting hooks lines to a long line.”

“Spotted in a Culver’s between the wall and a fridge”


A: “It’s a bug trap. There’s a big glue trap behind the panel that traps flying bugs attracted by the light.”

“What is this single-stringed instrument? The seller said it was from Morocco and made by a Tunisian craftsman.”

A: “It’s a gusle. Many of them have goat heads on them.”

“This was given to us when my father-in-law passed away, and we don’t know what it is!”

A: “Looks like an erhu to me. It’s an old, beat up Chinese fiddle (missing a string, tuning peg, and sound tube cover) for sure. That being said, the button does serve a purpose. It’s supposed to be used as a kind of guide for the string.”

“Saw this at a local school next to a bike rack. What is it?”

A: “It’s a skateboard rack. Slide the board in and put a lock between the rings so it can’t be taken out.”

“Found this at Goodwill for $2. Only 5×2 inches and very ornate.”

A: “It’s just a small cloisonné (or pitcher) chocolate pot for serving hot chocolate.”

“Found on Pacific Beach — what is this?”

A: “It’s some seaweed that was once red!”

“2 thick wooden sticks in a curved, open wood case at 3 inches long”

A: “It’s a business card holder and displayer, and those are weights to keep them tight.”

“Found in some old sewing supplies!”

A: “It is the third hand for sewing. The red string (and the fact that it was found with sewing things) is the key.”

“Found a metal rod with a ball and a U-shaped thing on the end. It has a wooden handle. Any ideas?”

A: “It’s a slide hammer. It’s a pulling tool for removing gears or pulleys off of splines. This looks old and specialized but it’s a slide hammer all the same. Insert the 2 hooks into whatever you want to pull out and rock the metal ball against it to remove it from a tight fit — like the reverse action of a hammer or press.”

“Found this in my yard buried a foot deep.”

A: “It looks like a fire mark. They were attached to homes near the front door to show that you paid for your fire insurance. This way, the original fire insurance companies (think fire department) would actually work to put out a fire that started in your home.”



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