What is it?

I've been collecting unusual objects for quite a while, and several years ago I started posting them on this site as puzzles for visitors to figure out what they are. Most of the items are mine but a few belong to others, if you aren't interested in tools there are plenty of other type objects that have also been posted.

For first time visitors I recommend this archive for a wide variety of some of my best pieces.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

490. 4-3/4" long, anyone know what the small part on the right is for?

491. 3-3/4" tall

492. Close-up/partial shot of something that everyone has seen before.

493. 9" x 2" x 2.5"
Someone sent this one in looking to find out what it is.
Fully assembled:

Shown removed in this photo, the round part isn't a tight fit into the case. You can see some felt cushions that hold it in. The inside of the rectangular case is unfinished and has no odor or noticeable stains.

The round piece comes apart. It's lined with brass and had some very fine grained, dried out green sponge or foam inside. You can see there are three holes that extend into the brass lining.

494. 2-3/4" long

495. 7-1/4" long



  • 492 Focus knob for binoculars
    494 Hearing "aid" sound booster
    495 Dough pricker for pies or pizza

    By Blogger Canem, at 10/27/2005 5:33 AM  

  • 493 This may be a pipe tobacco humidor. The green spongy material in the brass cylinder could hold water to keep tobacco fresh through the three holes shown. Stain showing near inside of narrow width in second and third photos would be from rubbing when pulling tobacco into pipe bowl with finger.

    By Blogger Canem, at 10/27/2005 5:45 AM  

  • 493. I second Canem's evaluation, but am therefore surprised that there is no oder. The brass section should smell of mold and the box should smell of tobacco. It might be a cigar humidor. The wrapped cigars would have transfered less scent and, let's face it, pinching pipe tobaco from a holder that lays on it's side would make quite a mess.

    - Edward

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/27/2005 10:59 PM  

  • >492 Focus knob for binoculars


    >494 Hearing "aid" sound booster

    No, but it does get placed on the right ear.

    >495 Dough pricker for pies or pizza


    >493 This may be a pipe tobacco humidor

    Humidor is correct, though according to a pipe smoker, it's a travel humidor for cigars.

    By Blogger Rob, at 10/28/2005 2:21 PM  

  • 491 looks vaguely like the end of a window pole....

    By Anonymous rick, at 10/29/2005 8:57 PM  

  • 495 is a carpet seaming tool

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/29/2005 8:58 PM  

  • >491 looks vaguely like the end of a window pole...

    I'm still trying to find out what this one is.

    >495 is a carpet seaming tool


    By Blogger Rob, at 10/30/2005 6:27 AM  

  • is 494 a lazer pointer for the handicapped/quadraplegic?...?

    By Anonymous rick, at 10/30/2005 9:51 AM  

  • >is 494 a lazer pointer...

    This one isn't a laser.

    By Blogger Rob, at 10/30/2005 11:34 AM  

  • 491 I believe is a Butt cap. They are placed at the end of spears for various reasons such as: to prevent the pole from splitting, they help dig into the ground when used against charging enemys/animals, they help balance the weapon, and they are a weapon in and of themselves.

    I didn't have any luck with quickly finding a picture elsewhere tonight, I'll try more later.

    Thanks for the puzzles, great photos, liked all of the optical stuff you have on your blog.


    By Anonymous Uniquesolitary1, at 11/02/2005 10:23 PM  

  • could 490 be a wrench for removing the grills from a drain of some type. the little knob could be for hooking into the drain cover to lever it off after the retaining bolt was removed. Smith makes drainage supplies....

    By Blogger S. Mouse, at 11/03/2005 1:42 PM  

  • >could 490 be a wrench for removing the grills from a drain of some type...

    Best idea that I've heard on this one, I'll see what I can find on that.

    >491 I believe is a Butt cap...

    Sounds reasonable, I'll look into that also.

    By Blogger Rob, at 11/03/2005 6:37 PM  

  • 491 looks very much like a bell clapper...

    By Blogger Chris, at 11/18/2005 3:04 AM  

  • 490 is a Hydrant Key, used to adjust the water flow in a plumbing fixture. The hook at the tip is used to facilitate the removal of the hydrant grate/cover.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11/18/2005 3:26 AM  

  • >490 is a Hydrant Key...

    I think this is correct, but I haven't been able to verify it.

    By Blogger Rob, at 11/21/2005 5:49 PM  

  • Finally looked into 491, emailed a friend - his response follows:

    You're right, it is a butt cap. it is a greek design, almost certainly theatrical and most likely was originally on either a spear or a flag pole with a spear head tip. Most likely it was
    originally from a theatrical (stage play) armory, however it could also be from a masonic lodge, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Pithius, or Knights Templar. Most likely circa 1890-1940.
    Unfortunately, for the researcher, decorative butt caps are copied constantly, often because spears were the most common weapon captured or brought home as trophies in times of war. Eastern designs found their way west, western designs found their way east, and all were apreciated for their artistic value and copied for exotic fashion reasons. The original could have been copied, re-copied on and on but I would be very surprised if it dated back past turn of the century.

    Hope this helps.

    By Anonymous Uniquesolitary1, at 2/03/2006 9:34 PM  

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