Reddit | randomrepairs

15+ Things That People Couldn't Figure Out Without The Internet's Help

Whether it's because we stumbled across it outside or because it was in an old house we had to work on, there's a good chance that we'll eventually come across something we don't recognize at all.

But of course, what makes them so hard to figure out is also what inspires so much curiosity about them. So while we might otherwise just discard the item without thinking about it, the lack of answers we find as we research it just makes the mystery behind it maddening and compelling at the same time.

And it turns out this is a pretty common problem because people turn up at the r/whatisthisthing subreddit every day seeking answers about their mysterious finds.

And today, some of them will finally find satisfaction.

1. This person's great uncle had a Zippo lighter made about 80 years ago and they were wondering who was depicted on it.

Reddit | sopporo

This was made when art deco was a popular style and the movement apparently drew a lot of influence from ancient Mayan civilizations.

So while it's still not entirely clear who is depicted on this lighter, we know they were of great importance in Mayan society.

So far, the best guess is Pakal the Great, who ruled during the 7th century.

Load Comments

2. With no notes or an inscription of any kind on this container, the uploader didn't have any leads to go on when they found this at work.

Reddit | KaptenLingo92

Although this photo attracted a few disparate guesses, the most likely answer seems to be that this is a dip slide.

That is, a small testing kit used to figure out what kinds of microbes are living in a sample of water.

Load Comments

3. It's easy enough to understand why someone wouldn't be able to determine this thing's purpose if they found it laying loose in a basement.

Reddit | Flumpeldoo

However, it appears that one of the commenters has assembled enough Ikea furniture to recognize it as a simple tool used to put that stuff together.

Hopefully, its job is a little more clear in the instructions.

Load Comments

4. When the uploader posted this thin metal plate, they also noted that one side of it was painted black.

Reddit | CamIsTiredAndGay

This helped others narrow down what they were looking at and this was soon identified as a blind flange that is attached to the end of a pipe.

As for the paint job? It's apparently supposed to help prevent corrosion and make the seal more effective.

Load Comments

5. Every 65 feet, these markers can be found on the side of the road at Hardangervidda National Park in Norway.

Reddit | akumareloaded

While their purpose seems pretty unclear in this photo, it would be much easier to see how valuable they are in the winter.

Their job is to mark where the actual road is during intense snow storms so snow plows don't find themselves stuck in ditches.

Load Comments

6. Although these little tools that came with an apparently used car look like knives, it turns out they're not very sharp.

Reddit | fasupbon

And that's because they're intended more for prying than for cutting. Specifically, they're supposed to help remove the radio from a car.

Load Comments

7. While it's in this compact state, it's hard to blame someone for not recognizing what this is.

Reddit | FartingRainbow

But when those rods are placed in those hooks so they can stick outwards, it becomes more obvious that this device is supposed to hang laundry.

Load Comments

8. When the uploader found what they described as a "nobble" on this chair in their Airbnb, they wanted to find out what it was before they messed with it.

Reddit | Rosem90

While I'm sure this consideration was appreciated, they soon discovered that adjusting it simply extends the chair's foot rest.

Load Comments

9. While it doesn't resemble any other tool we usually associate with this word, this is technically a wrench.

Reddit | breal2037

More specifically, it's called a bung wrench and it's used to manipulate the caps of oil tanks.

Apparently, those caps come in a variety of shapes, which makes all of the weird designs on each end of the wrench necessary.

Load Comments

10. When the uploader found this next to an antique sled in a 100-year-old house, they had no idea what they were looking at.

Reddit | safe_conclusion_776

And it turns out they had good reason to be stumped as it's normally found in much warmer climates than this house stood in.

That's because it's a coconut scraping bench.

Load Comments

11. The only clue this person had about this strange device was that it was an antique gardening tool.

Reddit | Cluelesslou

And it seems whoever told them that wasn't lying because this is apparently a post hole digger.

You may notice it looks different from other tools matching that description, which has to do with the fact that one of its parts is missing.

Load Comments

12. When this person took the ash tray out of their car, they noticed a strange panel inside of it.

Reddit | degenerative_minds

Apparently, this is supposed to let light shine through so the tray can be located in the dark.

There are supposed to be a couple of tiny light bulbs near it for this purpose but those seemed to have been removed from this vehicle.

Load Comments

13. All the uploader knew when their neighbor asked them to figure out what this is was that it was about five feet long and extendable.

Reddit | Lonnie101

Since this was revealed to be the window piece used when setting up a portable air conditioner, it's only right that it would be so adjustable.

Load Comments

14. As the uploader went through their house, they noticed that every door latch had this plastic strip on it.

Reddit | 6ix0h5ive

This is apparently included to prevent the metal-on-metal contact that would otherwise wear the latch down if it wasn't there.

Although the strip seems simple enough, it has major effects on how soft (and cheap) the metal used to make latches can be. It also makes lubrication unnecessary.

Load Comments

15. Although it was clear that this is a sea slug, the uploader couldn't figure out what kind they had found.

Reddit | MicahsBurner

And since r/whatisthisthing was the most relevant subreddit they could find, they decided to try their luck there. Fortunately, they soon found their answer and discovered that this was a Spanish shawl.

Load Comments

16. Although the person who took this photo couldn't figure out what this device does, they shared an important clue in the process of asking.

Reddit | Spartanll

Namely, that their apartment has a natural gas line. This tipped commenters off that they were looking at a safety regulator that's designed to shut off the gas once it detects a severe drop in pressure.

Load Comments

17. As you might expect, the person who found this compared it to ceremonial axe heads and other ancient bronze crafts.

Reddit | Esqueleta

However, we can glean from the Smithsonian that the axe-like shape is a little misleading as this was actually used as currency in central Mexico and some regions of Central America.

It's known as a tajadero in Spanish but more commonly called Aztec axe money among English-speaking scholars.

Load Comments

18. When the uploader bought a bunch of tools in bulk, they eventually came across a set they didn't recognize.

Reddit | randomrepairs

And that's because they never trained to be a watchmaker because these are the kinds of tools used to repair them.

Although the tool needed apparently varies by watch design, that yellow piece reportedly helps pop the backs off of some of them.

Load Comments

19. When somebody found this in a Victorian terrace, there were understandably creeped out.

Reddit | TheeTurtleMoves

Although the imagination can run wild when confronted by an eerie set of plastic teeth, it's apparently just part of a baby's pacifier.

That's definitely the best-case scenario.

Load Comments

20. While this woman was cleaning out her dad's house in Norway, she came across this mass of braided rope.

Reddit | Buboribetra

And the reason many of us wouldn't recognize it has to do with a change in how the bumpers or fenders of boats were made over the years.

While these are largely made out of rubber nowadays, they used to consist of woven ropes like this.

Load Comments
Next Article