Maybe you have stumbled across some mysterious object while cleaning out an older relative’s house. Or, you may have inherited something from a grandparent that you cannot make head or tails of. There is only one way to satisfy our curiosity during such situations, and that is to ask the Internet. It has never been easier to get the answers, when earlier we may have had to scour through physical books and get on a call with experts. Here are 12 objects whose identities left the people asking shocked:
1. Beautiful Bubble
Question: Insanely heavy glass with (bubbles?) inside, the inscription says 1978. Any idea what this is or just a random decoration item?
Answer (by u/NightmareResolved): Looks like a paperweight. This is typically one of the first things a student will make when learning glass blowing. The bubbles are created as the glass gathers folds over itself. Ultimately one tries to avoid creating bubbles in most cases.
2. Wooden Instrument
Question: A thick round wooden stick with a cylindrical structure on one end.
Answer (by u/dvdmaven): Possibly used with a Singing Bell. I have one. You rub the stick lightly around the edge and the bell starts vibrating. You might have seen the same effect with wine glasses.
3. Sphere Inside A Wooden Case
Question: Weird glass ball, suspended by screws, in a metal frame, bronze or gold color in appearance.
Answer (by u/tharookery): 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 towards 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 is.
4. Handling Glass
Question: Found a stainless steel object when cleaning out a lab space. Has an “H” on a diamond stamp.
Answer (by u/JJ_00ne): It’s a glass tube cutter! Used it many times in the chemistry lab.
5. Leather Flowers
Question: This thing is made of leather, and about 15” in length. Any ideas?
Answer (by u/kicktree500): It looks like a decorative tassel from a purse. Also, u/fubooze found the specific purse model: MARC JACOBS Goatskin Leather Medium Quilted Grommet Nomad Hobo Brown
6. Special Ring
Question: I found this ring in my backyard while doing gardening. After cleaning it, it doesn’t look like a normal ring. Any ideas?
Answer (by u/batbrat): It’s a Georgian/early Victorian mourning ring. The initials belong to the lost loved one. They were typically made from gold (18k+) and enameled in black. Yours looks like it was made around the 1820s-40s.
7. Leaning Glass
Question: Going through old kitchen wares in my boyfriend’s grandparents’ house. Found a glass votive of some kind with a coil attached. Hasn’t been touched in decades, what is this?
Answer (by u/MothTheLamplighter): It’s a whiskey/cigar holder, as someone else said, but this is how it works. You’d rest the bottle’s neck on the coil and pour, turning the glass as you pour to coat the glass’ interior, allowing aromas to release, and to help warm the liquor your lit cigar can sit in the coil to assist the warming, or just for storage.
8. Porcelain Package
Question: Lidded porcelain item with a small spoon and what seems to be a spot for a heat source.
Answer (by u/CheerioMissPancake): It’s a mini chafing dish. A tea light goes in the spot in the frame and then whatever you want to keep warm goes in the pot. Based on its size, I’d say for a dip or maybe gravy.
Question: What is this thing I inherited from my grandparents, what I know is that it’s Scandinavian, over 40 years old, made of glass, spoon-shaped, hollow, and about 1m tall.
Answer (by u/MusicianPristine8973): Apparently called a “glasslev” which Google translates to glass ladle.
10. Weird Wooden Box
Question: What is this antique handmade wooden box with slants and grates?
Answer (by u/KryptosBC): Curved corner pieces like these are often put in compartments to make it easy to grab small pieces (coins, corn, acorns, buttons, etc) that would otherwise get stuck in the corners. Cash register drawer coin pockets are a good example. Perhaps this was used for bolts, nuts, and washers in some settings?
11. Car Parts
Question: Clips or springs found in a junk drawer in Ohio. Appears to be made of stainless steel. Penny is in the photo for scale. As seen in the lower right, loses shape when compressed on the ends. Perhaps I compressed in the wrong direction. Not sure if I need to keep them for anything important.
Answer (by u/velifer): These are unused springs from the brake pads of a car (do you own a Subaru?) There is often a second set that ships with replacement pads, but those end up in the junk drawer.
12. Lucky Charm
Question: Found this small object while cleaning a couch. Gold in color, made of very thin material, see-through in places.
Answer (by u/MaryN6FBB110117): It’s a feng shui ‘lucky talisman’. Like these ones. Or a Japanese Omamori card. Either way, it’s a good luck token.
Keep Reading: Can You Help Us Identify These 6 Mystery Items?