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, May 24, 2007

Set 171

989a. 6" long:

Both of these large keys were marked as being for the same purpose.

989b. 5-1/4" long

990. 6-5/8" long:

991. Approximately 4"-8" tall:

Larger image

These devices are slightly related to the ones in the previous photo:

Larger image

992. Submitted by a visitor:

993a. 11" long:

993b. This is a similar tool that performs the same function, 9-1/2" long:

Patented in 1885

From Jim Brown's collection.

994. 4-1/4" long:


Last week's set is seen below, click here to view the entire post:

More discussion and comments on these photos can be found at the newsgroup rec.puzzles.



  • 991. oilers, industrial machines, mabee steam locomotives.
    992. coin slot mechanism.
    993. for making decorative wood moulding

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/24/2007 6:42 AM  

  • 989 Water shut off keys? Maybe for fire department access? They're large enough that they're obviously used to directly operate a valve of some kind, not just a lock.

    991. I'd guess that they were inspection/sampling devices. You open the valve and can get a sample of the oil/water/gasoline or whatever is in some machine.

    993. I'm stymied by the fact that they don't look sharp enough to cut wood or metal. I'd guess that they were for pattern makers and were used to cut the shapes into clay or wax before casting: possibly in the making of warded keys.
    --Jim A.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/24/2007 7:36 AM  

  • 990. Handcuffs

    By Anonymous Fazzio, at 5/24/2007 7:46 AM  

  • 991 - First photo shows drip oilers used on steam or gas engines. Second photo shows mostly grease cups, oil cups and priming cups.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/24/2007 9:28 AM  

  • >993. I'm stymied by the fact that they don't look sharp enough to cut wood or metal.

    They're supposed to be for wood, but you're right about them not looking sharp enough for that.

    Check out the answer page for more details on this week's set.

    By Blogger Rob, at 5/25/2007 3:48 PM  

  • 989b. I own one of these. The water meter reader left it beside my in-ground meter when I lived in Austin. It does a perfect job of unlatching and lifting the concrete lid over the meter.

    - Edward

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/26/2007 1:34 PM  

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