5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

15 Things Whose Purposes Were a Mystery Until the Internet Stepped in and Helped Identify Them

Have you ever found something so puzzling that you had no idea what it could be, even though that thing looked well-used? It turns out that people often stumble upon things like this and ask internet users to help them identify their quirky finds. As usual, kind internet strangers don’t let them down and gladly help solve the mystery.

“What is this thing? A small gold pig container with a removable tiny spoon for a tail”

Answer: It’s a salt cellar.

“This fancy hotel has a shallow tub with 2 sides.”

Answer: You’re supposed to keep your feet in the warm water first and then quickly put them in the cold water (repeat a few times). This is supposed to help with circulation. These tubs are usually used in spas and other wellness or health-related facilities.

“What are these chains under the ambulance?”

Answer: They are automatic snow chains for traction control.

“What are these metal things on the corners of these stairs and what is their purpose?”

Answer: These are corner dust guards. They make it easier to sweep dust out of the corners.

“Why does this Stop sign look different?”

Answer: These are blinders, typically used so the sign can be read from a narrow angle. They’re also called directional shields. You’ll see them on traffic lights a lot more often.

“What is this swinging bar under this Dresden train station seat?”

Answer: They are referred to as “klappbarer Orientierungsbügel” (“foldable orientation (guide) bar”) for the visually impaired to feel the seat with their cane.

“I found this when cleaning my parents basement. It’s made out of wood and the paint is heavily chipped.”

Answer: It’s a phone stand. The vertical cavity is for your city phone book or books. The top is a handle for moving it about.

“(UK) These are being put up outside every apartment, no signs about what they are.”

Answer: Connection for fiber optic broadband.

“This thing is in the middle of the wall in my 1906 house.”

Answer: It’s a capped off gas line from when they used gas lighting.

“I found this weird thing in a junk drawer.”

Answer: The classic Sunbeam Mixmaster had a juicer attachment which looked like a bowl attached to the top of the mixer. This is the spout from which the juice pours out. The wire part had a small sieve to filter the pulp.

“This pumpkin thing opens on a hinge, there is a latch inside with a small glass jar.”

Answer: It is a vinaigrette, a piece of jewelry containing smelling salts or perfume that women hung from a chatelaine chain in Victorian times.

“Plastic-like, circular object made of ‘cells.’ It can be found on several beaches, Sardinia (Italy).”

Answer: This is biofilm used to treat waste water.

“This strange object from Tiffany’s mysteriously given to my wife by her grandmother while refusing to say what it was.”

Answer: This thing is for stirring drinks.

“What is this toilet’s purpose?”

Answer: This is a 1950’s Standard “Sanistand” urinal for women.

“Solid metal thing found in a farming museum. Has rubber straps and chains.”

Answer: It’s a bull / horse blinder. These blinders were used to prevent animals, like bulls, from charging people or other animals. The eye plates have slits along the bottom, which allows the animal to look downward only.

Do you have photos of things whose purpose is unclear? If you do, please share them in the comments. We’ll find the answer together!

Preview photo credit Bot_Insulter_Bot 2 / Reddit
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