15+ Weird Things People Went To The Internet For Help Identifying


No one person can definitely identify every single random thing they might come across. That's why, when the thinking person is stumped, they might turn to r/whatisthisthing to let the internet solve the mystery.

1. "Thought it was a banana holder, but instead of a hook it's got this large spring."

Reddit | pollywosh

This is a holder, but not for bananas. The neck of a wine bottle fits into the "spring" at the top, while the base sits on the circle at the bottom.

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2. "Lady speaking into strange equipment in courtroom during trial."

Reddit | specikk

This is known as a stenomask, and it's used by court reporters to rapidly dictate what's being said in court.

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3. "Steel kitchen utensil with wooden handle."

Reddit | abaajab

It looks like a torture implement of some kind, but it's actually designed for pulling pork. I guess pork doesn't just pull itself.

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4. "I found it in a forest in the Netherlands."

Reddit | SpaceCoffee33

I thought this was an old World War II munition, but it's actually an enclosure for underground cables. Once encased, the cables are protected from moisture.

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5. "Some sort of weight, part of a set of twenty."

Reddit | Kookabanus

This is known as a spline weight, and it's used for drafting. The hook is set along a curved track, which allows consistent curves to be drawn.

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6. "Cast iron parts that were mounted on the end of wood rods."

Reddit | Uhura_Sits_Backwards

These wood rods, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, were used in the construction of windmills back in the day.

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7. "Found in a hospital bathroom."

Reddit | Winmat97

This is a foot control that allows the occupant of the washroom to control the sink without using their hands.

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8. "Heavy wooden contraption found in an attic."

Reddit | OldDevelopment5105

This is a printer frame for making and copying blueprints. A draftsman would draw a blueprint on translucent paper, then the image would be imprinted on a separate piece of paper with light.

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9. "Glass square with spirals and fractions."

Reddit | castaway42000

If anyone looked at this and immediately thought of spirographs, that's basically it: it's an old school instruction plate for a cycloidotrope.

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10. "What is this truck with five massive spheres on the bed, and why does it drive past my house every morning around 8 am?"

Reddit | OrangeFurious

You're looking at ground station pods for a StarLink satellite from SpaceX. This one is truly out of this world!

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11. "Just bought a house and three of these things are attached to the stairs."

Reddit | forcrossstitch

These are battery-powered motion sensor lights. In this context, they might be used to help people make their way up the stairs in the dark.

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12. "Large solar powered floating thing."

Reddit | barry-d-benson2

This one is pretty cool. It's a fish-finding smart buoy, and it uses solar power to keep finding those fish.

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13. "What is this cylinderical object on a trunk?"

Reddit | FussRoDa

This is a GPS tag of some kind. This might be a company vehicle, or a car that's been loaned to someone who the owner doesn't trust.

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14. "Variable speed motor found in a super old university. Patent date 2/28/28."

Reddit | perkinsjt

This is an old-school film projector. The disk in the top right hides the picture as the rest of the film moves forward.

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15. "I found this angle bar with chains attached."

Reddit | 1929_hank

This is a chain guard. When attached to a large brush cutter, it prevents stones and debris from flying out and causing injury.

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16. "Odd formation in Louisiana Coast."

Reddit | waldoboro

These squares are designed to counter erosion. Trenches are dug, then filled with a special mix that eventually will allow sediment to build up and protect the coast.

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17. "Leather thing that has a strap that wraps around the back of your hand."

Reddit | KalebAT

This is a self-defense tool known as a blackjack, or slapjack. It's almost like a set of brass knuckles. Careful though, as these are often illegal.

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18. "What would be shipped in this strange shaped container?"

Reddit | Moeextoicc

This is a highly-specific container used to transport, uh, sperm. It might be used to ship a horse's genetic material.

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19. "What has made these funny markings on my housemate’s candle cover? She has never lit the candle."

Reddit | nosefluteenthusiast

This, unfortunately, is most likely an example of mold or fungi. Life always finds a way, I guess.

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20. "Found metal detecting in a Minnesota park where other objects around 1860s have been pulled."

Reddit | turtlesupremelord

This is a lead mold that was used as the cast for toy soldiers. Because it's lead, it's probably not a great thing to play around with.

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