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19 Strange Objects That Baffled Their Owners Until They Figured Out Their Real Purpose

The world is as old as it is mysterious, and objects that were used to do certain things can somehow find their way into our hands. Also, technology evolves by leaps and bounds and there are new or activity-specific tools that we struggle to understand what they are supposed to be.

This encounter between past and present has something in common: the question, “What is this?” And at Bright Side, we compiled some of them whose answers were found on the web thanks to users who helped solve their enigma.

1. “Found this plugged into the wall at my Airbnb... host says it’s a night light. Can I get some confirmation?”

Answer: “I googled square nightlights and it looks just like that.”

2. “Weird glass ball, suspended by screws, in a metal frame, bronze or gold color in appearance.”

Answer: “It is a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder. You place a strip of card into one set of grooves in the piece that curves behind the sphere, point the opposite side of the sphere toward the equator, and the sphere will focus the sunlight to burn a track on the card. The card has hours marked, and the more the card is burnt, the brighter the sunlight was.”

3. “Found on a hike in the Highlands in Scotland. Looks and feels handmade, wooden handle and mesh made of wire”

Answer: “Fire beaters. Used to extinguish small fires. Here are some long-handled versions.”

4. “Recessed shelf on my bathroom wall with a hole.”

Answer: “A couple of years ago, I fixed up and modernized an old house for a young couple. There was a built-in wall heater that started out as gas but later the burner part was removed and electric guts got put in. I just gutted the thing and put a modern plug in it and left it. Their budget was very low. The old gas wall heaters didn’t have vents. The hole at the bottom would be for the gas line. I have seen a lot of the old gas ones that had an electric insert put in them later on. I have taken out many of them and left the metal liner and put in a modern plug.”

5. “This thing is made of Terracotta and has sunflowers on each end.”

Answer: “That’s a taco holder.”

6. “Keychain. Breaks apart. Black is rubber and solid on the inside and oddly shaped. The white piece is just hollowed out hard plastic.”

Answer: “I think it’s like an amplifier for a cell phone you would stick your phone in it and it basically megaphones the speaker.”

7. “A kitchen utensil with a wooden handle, attached to a round metal cup with 3 spikes (with holes in it)”

Answer: “It’s a funnel for making a Portuguese sweet called fios de ovos or egg threads.”

8. “This looks like a typewriter but the letters are in alphabetical order.”

Answer: “It looks like a keyboard panel from a tabletop jukebox selector.”

9. “What is this hinged wooden box with a sliding lid?”

Answer: “Old school pencil case. I had one as a kid.”

10. “A metal container with a lock and a hole in the front and the word ’Nelson’. The back has a dial reading just under 22 with no units.”

Answer: “It’s a lock that is used on shipping containers. When the pin is inserted and it’s locked, there is nothing exposed that can be cut”.

11. “The glitter swirled on its own when I bought it, seemed like air bubbles pushing it up, but the tube is sealed as far as I can tell.”

Answer: “Looks like it could be part of a night light.”

12. “Curved metal piece with attached leather strap.”

Answer: “It’s an Arm blaster.

13. “There are no markings or numbers on it. It is made of plastic and metal. The metal part screws into the handle.”

Answer: “It’s a watch band pin remover.”

14. “Found an instrument at Goodwill, any idea what it is?”

Answer: “A door harp. It goes on the door and ‘chimes’ when people come in. If it wasn’t tangled.”

15. “About 4-5 inches diameter, push here button depresses when pushed but nothing happens. Found hanging under the kitchen sink.”

Answer: “It’s a roach repellent disk. The dates are so you know when to replace it.”

16. “What is this folding hook I found?”

Answer: “Folding button hook.”

17. “It’s made of plastic, but the red part you is just plain weaved fabric. The cover opens up and the back has an arrow.”

Answer: “Used for taking lint off your clothes.”

18. “Large machine connected to a school building with a barrel underneath it”

Answer: “Dust collection system, probably coming out of the wood shop”

19. “What is this ferrous metal sphere with a cutout? There were about 100 at a scrap yard.”

Answer: “Looks like SMR target that wasn’t polished.”

What’s the strangest object you’ve ever found, how did you figure out what it was and how much did it cost? Show it to us in the comments!

Got some cool photos or stories and want to be featured on Bright Side? Send them all right HERE and right now. Meanwhile, we’re waiting!

Preview photo credit KindaFreeRealEstate / Reddit
Bright Side/Curiosities/19 Strange Objects That Baffled Their Owners Until They Figured Out Their Real Purpose
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