Tuesday, February 4, 2020

16 Mysterious Finds That Baffled Their Owners So Much They Had to Ask the Internet for Help

Technology is developing so rapidly today that even the devices that were created just 3-4 years ago are totally outdated. Obviously, this also applies to the everyday things people used in the previous century. Regular people are very unlikely to figure out what something is or how to use it, especially if they have no context for the item itself. So if you’ve found a mysterious thing and you don’t know what its purpose is, just take a picture of it and ask people online for help. This is exactly what the guys from our article did.

We decided that it is time for another compilation of mysterious things that people have found in their homes or on the street.



1. “Found at the base of a hiking trail at a park. 3 identical wooden poles, about mid-thigh height, each with a chain hanging down facing a central concrete circle.”

Answer: Apparently, there are bears in the park that steal trash cans. This device helps to prevent trash can theft, but obviously, this time, the bear won.


2. “What is this wooden box that resembles a telephone? I bought it in Corbridge, in the UK, and the seller didn’t know what it was.”

Answer: This is a primitive tinder box (a device for starting an open fire) and it was widely used before matches were invented.

3. “Spoon-shaped implement with a strainer/filter on one end and a mouthpiece on the other.”

Answer: It is a bombilla, a straw for drinking mate.


4. “Found in an antique shop for $1. It’s made of wood. It looks like a nesting doll but it has a spiral inside.”

Answer: This is a darning egg with room for storage for some thread.


5. “Any ideas what it might be?”

Answer: A sipping cup for mineral water, which Karlovy Vary is rather famous for.




6. “Looks like a safety pin on the top, no idea what the others are.”

Answer: These are collar pins.


7. “Saw this funny-shaped case at the airport.”

Answer: It’s a hat case.



8. “Found in an Airbnb I just stayed in, just inside the front door. I thought it was bike racks, but the door couldn’t open if bikes were hanging there.”

Answer: Kayak or surfboard holder.


9. “What type of spoon is this? It has to have a name.”

Answer: It’s a “proper” soup spoon.




10. “Trying to figure out what this is. Saw it at an estate sale.”

Answer: It’s an antique clock without a face.


11. “I found this at a thrift store in the kitchen section. It has something to do with baking, and that’s all I know. What is this thing?”

AnswerPastry cutter, probably more for docking than cutting.


12. “Found in a washroom in London — what is this thing in the middle?”

Answer: It’s a vintage soap dispenser.


13. “Found hanging in the basement of a house I just bought. About the size of a deck of cards, flips open to reveal a battery.”

Answer: It’s an old fire alarm.


14. “Sitting in a Tokyo restaurant, and they brought this fork.”

Answer: It’s for pulling lumps of food off skewers.


15. “When you crank it, it lifts the pan about 1/2 inch then drops it back down. What is it?”

Answer: Casagrande cup for testing the Atterberg limits.


16. “I bought this thing in a store last weekend for $2. Solid brass, steel blade, set screw + washer. The blade doesn’t fill the gap made by the weird angle of the body...”

Answer: Chamfer spokeshave for woodworking. It takes the sharp edge/corner off.

Did you know the purpose of any of these things before you read the explanation?


Based on material from reddit.