16 Items Who Needed the Internet’s Help to Be Identified

year ago

It is not uncommon to come across objects whose purpose remains a mystery to us. In the past, we would have had to rely on libraries, conversations with knowledgeable individuals, or simply accept that we may never find the answer. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, we have a vast network of Internet users who act as a collective detective service. In this compilation, we have gathered some of the most significant discoveries made regarding unidentified items.

1. “What is this leather belt thing with a cup in the middle?”

Answer: Looks like a very old belt fishermen and anglers wear to sit the end of their fishing rods in when reeling in something big.

2. “Someone gave this to my friend. It’s metal with a plastic round knob/thing coming out of it and a plastic handle. What is this?”

Answer: It’s a 1920s electric massager.

3. “What is this type of clamp used for? It doesn’t open more than this, and when closed, the holes collide perfectly.”

Answer: That’s a gang lock for Lockout/Tagout. It’s placed on a breaker when many people are working with equipment to keep them safe.

4. “Small red container. The lid has a small spoon attached to the inside.”

Answer: Snuff container. This is really established in the Mongol culture. My parents told me that it’s used because the winters are so cold and when you enter someone’s house it is a way to clear your nose.

5. “Found while cleaning the couch, no one knows where it came from. It’s metal, but probably not gold.”

Answer: It’s a keychain attachment.

6. “A thumb protector possibly, but for what?”

Answer: It’s an antique butcher’s thumb protector.

7. “What’s this strange glass dish? 2 pieces, a lid, and a base.”

Answer: The bottom is a chicken roaster, and the top is a ’universal pyramid lid’ for pots or pans. They stack easily together, and are both glasses from the same company, so they seem as if they must be used together, but they’re not.

8. “What are these blue reflective markers for? They’re facing the field.”

Answer: They reflect cars’ headlights to the fields so that animals avoid crossing the road.

9. “I now own these neon rainbow acrylic mystery sticks I found at a secondhand store. Does anyone know what I bought?”

Answer: They’re acrylic support tiles for playing Mahjong.

10. “This thing has about 60 twisty screws embedded into it. It has me stumped.”

Answer: It’s for making spun sugar.

11. “A long tool with a metal dial on the top that you can twist, possibly related to calligraphy”

Answer: It’s a ruling pen for drawing with ink or with other drawing fluids.

12. “6 numbered wooden cubes in a very old cardboard box”

Answer: It’s an old puzzle called Octo-mania.

13. “Blue/brown crystallized looking chunk came out of my milk?”

Answer: Someone is in trouble. This is a resin commonly used in machine work, especially as glue, to help hold machine parts together. As for side effects, you should be fine. It’s mostly just plastic.

14. “This was in an estate auction lot. It’s made of wood and has a metal section with the letter A.”

Answer: It’s a tool for softening, making imprints, and cutting leather.

15. “A compressible sponge soaked in clear oily odorless substance — I received it at a conference.”

Answer: It’s a shoe polisher.

16. “That’s a fine spoon...but what exactly is it used for?”

Answer: I made it, carved from wood. It’s a traditional Kazakh ladle.

Seeing things whose purpose is a mystery is very common and reminds us of the people who found an underwear with a button on it, a rubbery sheet on the beach and a taxi driver wearing a mysterious finger device.

Preview photo credit the_wood_carver / Reddit


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