20 Odd Things That Bewildered The People Who Found Them

Vasculum for carrying plants
reddit | BalooVanAdventure

The world is full of purpose-built objects; things whose purpose is so obvious and so evident that you immediately know what they're intended for.

Conversely, the world is also full of baffling objects, stuff so weird and obscure that you can never be sure what they're for. If you're stumped with an object falling into the latter category, it's worth posting it over on the r/whatisthisthing subreddit.

"Red, hexagonal outbuilding in the Historical District of Philadelphia."

Old-school guard post
reddit | Surferbro

The more some things change, the more they stay the same. Although this thing is very old, it's simply a guard station — not much different from the ones that modern parking lot attendants sit in.

"Inscribed square in back yard. Original thought was pet grave- but 1950 would predate all the houses on my street by about 20 years."

Old paving stone
reddit | jdycz

This one's interesting: it's just an old paving stone manufactured by Varnon. It was installed upside-down, which explains why the batch number is visible.

"Mystery spike found next to my doormat. Pointy enough to do damage, but not needle-sharp. The brass piece screws off the bottom."

A reusable toothpick
reddit | lunarscout

Some users thought this was the pointy part of a dart, but it actually appears to be a reusable toothpick. Apparently reusable toothpicks are a thing.

"Circuit thing / electrical component someone left in my car after breaking in."

A record player cartridge
reddit | Honeymoney79

This is the cartridge, or needle, or whatever you might want to call it, from a record player. It was nice of the breaker-inner to leave a gift behind, I suppose.

"Small (7cm) green thing with handle & ridges in top."

Part of a bean slicer
reddit | GydeonMylls

I thought this was a kids' beach toy or something, but Reddit's incredible minds have found out exactly what it is: a Lakeland bean slicer (or at least half of one).

"What is this shelf in my wall? It might just be a regular shelf but the bottom slot makes me think it has a special purpose."

Phone shelf in an old house
reddit | gahkoj

This is indeed a purpose-built shelf. The top shelf is for a landline, the bottom shelf is for a phone book...whatever those things are.

"Spiky things on the ground at the petrol station."

Bird deterrent strips
reddit | Starfireaw11

You know the spiky things they put on surfaces so people won't lie down on them? This is the same idea, only for birds. Our feathered friends must like roosting in this one spot.

"What is this? A small Bakelite toilet container with a spoon."

Salt or mustard holder
reddit | nwest

This is a novelty item — the toilet motif should have tipped you off — and its purpose is for holding salt or mustard. The spoon is the right size, at least.

"Expanding metal ring with ornate cap and handles."

Opening clasp for vintage purse
reddit | fathervice

This thing, which comes off kind of like an old-school fidget spinner, is the opening clasp for a vintage purse. If you've gone thrifting for purses, you may have come across something similar.

"Found off the coast of California in Bolinas."

Warming element from an electric blanket
reddit | jpd202256

It may have been found on a beach, but it has nothing to do with the beach. This is the warming element from an electric blanket. Somewhere along the way, it became detached and wound up in the ocean.

"Dismantling pallets and the nails are leaving pink behind in the holes. It's powdery and the same pink stuff is on the nails as well."

Nails leaving behind pink vinyl residue in wood
reddit | osirisphotography

The pink residue comes from vinyl that's attached to the nails to make them easier to drive.

"What is this small trench-like structure found in the countryside near Glossop, UK?"

A grouse shooting blind
reddit | pottdoggg

Unless you're deeply immersed in the world of grouse shooting, this is probably unfamiliar to you. For those who do shoot grouse, they'll immediately recognize this as a blind for shooting the birds.

"A fork with four prongs, with a cut in the middle, ending with a hole. Found in a restaurant."

A fish fork
reddit | redd177

Anyone will tell you that this is a fork, but what kind of fork is it? Apparently, it's a fish fork. The hole in the middle is for picking out fish bones.

"What is this chrome thing near the toilet and the TP holder?"

Chrome magazine holder in washroom
reddit | FlabberGusted

This is more than just a place to awkwardly stack toilet paper rolls. It's intended as a magazine holder, so you have something to read while using the restroom.

"Came across this while hiking behind an old mine in southwestern Pennsylvania."

A hunting blind made from an old trailer
reddit | Ok_Olive_6733

Most hunting blinds are small and utilitarian, but this hunting blind doesn't listen to convention. It's an impressive construction, complete with an elevated tower on the left side.

"Is this a shock collar? My dog was wearing it after coming home from boarding."

A dog shock collar
reddit | Boracho_Station

This is, unfortunately, a shock collar. OP noted that they didn't read the paperwork in full before dropping the doggo off. They're likely to avoid this place going forward.

"What’s this device mounted under my office desk?"

Occupancy sensor under a desk
reddit | [deleted]

If you've ever wondered how some workplaces know exactly when you're at your desk, this gadget might be the answer. Occupancy sensors like this detect when people sit down and when they leave.

"This wooden platform at the top of a mountain in West Virginia - like a ramp to nowhere - about 16 feet square."

A hang gliding or paragliding launch
reddit | ShakerOvalBox

It might look like a ramp to nowhere, but it's actually a ramp to the sky. Paragliders or hang gliders use launches like this to set off.

"Inside my GF’s house; a couple feet away from the thermostat. The house makes a loud groaning sound when the knob is turned, the knob itself makes a ticking sound, like an old-timer."

An old thermostat
reddit | misfit_cupcake

This is an old-timer indeed, as it appears to be an old Honeywell thermostat (a 'Time-o-Stat') dating back to the 1950s.

"What is this thing? Steel container with two locking doors, one large, one small, with a full division inside between the two."

Vasculum for carrying plants
reddit | BalooVanAdventures

This thing is known as a vasculum, and it's designed as a way to carry plant specimens around without crushing them.