Slot for a planter
reddit | actuary_2020

20 Times Internet Sleuths Helped Out People Who Found Weird Stuff

We like to think we know how the world works. Generally, this is true. But take a look around and it quickly becomes apparent that the world is jam-packed with stuff whose purpose isn't quite clear.

If you ever find yourself wondering what something is intended for, satisfy your curiosity by heading over to the r/whatisthisthing subreddit. You're almost certain to get a definitive answer.

"Bought an old house. This is in the living room next to the fireplace. Made of wood."

Antique telephone shelf
reddit | ericjchang

Back when telephones were more of an appliance than a wireless, pocketable item, stuff like this was more common in homes. This appears to be a place to keep the phone, while the shelves could be used for phone books and yellow pages.

"What is this box with a hole through it in my hotel room?"

Cajon, a type of musical instrument
reddit | PossumSkull

Plenty of commenters saw this and thought it was a subwoofer. It's solid wood with no wires, so that can't be it. It seems likely that this is a cajon, a simple type of percussion instrument.

"What is this kitchen cabinet used for? It has a pull out shelf and an outlet inside."

Stand mixer compartment in kitchen
reddit | ThreePotatoesOnFire

This one is compelling, as it was clearly custom-built for something specific. It's too narrow for a microwave. I'd probably put my coffee station here, but it looks like this particular cabinet was designed for a stand mixer.

"Little metal piece with three circles that you can press down and they spring back. Found in my grandad’s things from WWII."

Coin holder
reddit | MeanDeanMeme

This coin holder thing is, well, a coin holder. This particular model was likely designed to hold onto war ration token coins.

"Weird glazed earthware with a handle."

French onion soup bowl
reddit | guar_from_abyss

French onion soup is amazing, and no one denies this. Does it need its own bowl? Probably not, but it has one. Here's an example.

"Noticed this large prism next to the road, and there is a similar installation on a nearby rooftop."

Radar testing system
reddit | Autopilot555

These two things clearly interact with each other, but for what purpose? It's a radar testing system. Both of these things are reflectors to bounce radar signals off of.

"This tower was on my house when purchased. The internet guy wasn’t sure what is was either."

Rooftop weather station
reddit | b0wie88

Both the internet guy and OP need to think a little harder about this one, because it sure looks like a weather station to me. Turns out that's exactly what it is.

"Small cylinder attached to camouflage hunting jacket."

Inflation port on a hunting jacket
reddit | Megaguy4444

A hunting jacket is no substitute for a proper life jacket, but this type of jacket has built-in buoyancy. This is the inflation port.

"What are these iron branches? They connect together. Found in the attic of an early 19th century home in New Hampshire. Each are 19 inches long."

Seed corn drying rack
reddit | sunshine-12

These look old-timey, and they are old-timey. Known as seed corn drying racks, these are...drying racks. Drying racks for drying out seed corn.

"Rolling copper ball that I found in Vilnius, Lithuania."

Deactitvated naval mine
reddit | broslansky

This is a deactivated naval mine, sitting on top of the trolley it was transported on. Like WWII cannons, you'll sometimes see stuff like this in public parks.

"Fairy Orb? I found this after a few days of heavy rain on a non-public trail that I walk frequently. It seems to be glass and hollow... not heavy like a marble. The green parts are raised."

A marble
reddit | IAMS-WHAT-IAMS

You know how OP said this wasn't a marble because it wasn't heavy enough? Yeah, turns out it's actually just a marble.

"Metallic, 7lbs, found in my driveway... who lost this, and from what?"

Fire truck wheel chock
reddit | descriptivetext

If you've ever worked with heavy trucks, you've already identified this thing as a wheel chock. It's probably from a fire truck.

"Small ceramic pot. Lid goes nearly to the bottom inside and has a single hole in its side."

Ceramic butter softener
reddit | Cinnamonstone

You can soften butter by storing it at room temperature, but if you were in a hurry, you could use something like this. Put butter in the part on the left, put water in the bowl, fit them together, and the butter will be softened.

"Ceiling mounted bracket of some kind?"

Ceiling bracket for exercise straps
reddit | KimberBritt

This is a place to tie off exercise straps. That's the intended purpose, but it could also be used to hang plants or pretty much anything else.

"Found these glass tubes in the attic of my 100 year old home. Any idea what they are used for?"

Ampoules for storing medication
reddit | jmorr16

These are relics of an era before plastic. Known as ampoules, they can be filled with something — usually single doses of medication — and then sealed off using a flame.

"Came in a box of candy making supplies that I got off Craigslist. Measures 4 1/2 inches wide and has about 60 twisty screws embedded into it."

Spun sugar maker
reddit | maybetwobabka

Depending on your familiarity with antique candy-making equipment, you may or may not get this one. It's designed to separate tendrils of liquid sugar to make into spun sugar.

"Enclosed, copper gazebo type thing on a residential property. House built in 1929."

Former cupola used as a folly
reddit | pbratt

Have you ever heard of a folly? Basically, it's an architectural feature with no purpose, put in place as a decoration. This is a folly. It used to be the cupola of a building, but it was removed and is now a folly.

"Surgically removed from my cat’s stomach. We are at a loss as to what it is.. help? It’s rubbery in texture and maybe about an inch long."

Part of a pet drinking fountain
reddit | emerywowo

This one is highly specific, and will be familiar only to those who've disassembled a certain type of cat drinking fountain. This is...well, part of a cat drinking fountain that the cat apparently gnawed off.

"Found on outside table at a restaurant. stiff metal does not bend easily, top ring is not connected on one side."

Pressure washer cleaning tool
reddit | 850Fisch

If you've ever bought a pressure washer, you probably have one of these lying around. It's a simple tool for cleaning out the nozzle. I guess this restaurant is now missing a pressure washer cleaner.

"What is this space near the stairs? It is open to the floor above and does not appear to have a functional purpose."

Gap for a planter
reddit | actuary_2020

This is a weird one, as that gap is clearly there for a reason. It's more than likely a spot for a planter, although you'd need to ask the original builder to know for certain.