Reddit | thisdinosaurisgreen

13+ Discoveries People Needed Help To Identify

There used to be a time when waiting in line or riding the bus or basically any moment of idleness couldn't be filled by absently scrolling through random apps on your phone. If you planned ahead, maybe you would have a book to read.

But usually, that time was spent staring off into space and absently noticing the strange things around you. You would wonder what some widget or doohickey was for, but it was always an idle wonder.

Now you can google it, or if that fails, snap a pic on your phone an ask the experts in the r/whatisthisthing subreddit for help.

"What is this yellow grainy gunk that I keeps clogging my washing machine cold water hose?" —bizak

Reddit | bizak

This one is marked as "Likely Solved," since the person still needs to verify it, but it's likely that their water softener filter has broken and is letting resin out into the pipes.

"This long, white thing hanging from the ceiling in a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast in Italy." —RadiantArgon

Reddit | RadiantArgon

It's a cucuzza squash, which apparently translates to "super long" squash. Hard to argue with that.

No idea why it's just hanging from a ceiling, though.

"Found in some dirt next to a bike path. It is 18" long, weighs several pounds, is very strongly magnetic, and all of the square pieces move individually." —gingorama

Reddit | gingorama

It's a large chain of neodymium magnets, which is a strange thing to lose along a bike path.

"Sea Monster? Found in San Diego, California." —mistuhkrabs

Reddit | mistuhkrabs

It definitely looks like something from a sci-fi horror film, but it's just bull whip kelp. I think it's pretty obvious why it's called that.

"Mother of pearl, delicately decorated, about the size of a toonie found with the belongings of a deceased elderly woman." — 1RoomAvailable

Reddit | 1RoomAvailable

These are mother of pearl gaming counters, which were basically used to keep track of points, etc.

Bonus fact: a toonie, which the Redditor used as a size comparison, is the colloquial name for a Canadian $2 coin.

"Underside of kitchen shelf." —klhr

Reddit | klhr

If you'd never seen a jar opener like this before, I can understand being baffled. As someone with weak wrists, I would be delighted to find one in a new home, since it would save me from having to buy one myself.

"Found this on a table I was cleaning at the restaurant I work at." —therewillbesnacks

Reddit | therewillbesnacks

It's a Hebrew pendant called a tetragrammaton. Likely important to the person who lost it, so they'd probably come back looking for it.

"Short pieces of yarn bundled together." —wrongwrongwrite

Reddit | wrongwrongwrite

Short bits of yarn may seem to have few uses, but this is part of a latch-hook rug kit. Usually, the kits come with a color guide and the pre-cut yarn for you to create a specific image on your rug.

"Curious if anyone can tell me what this box is. It says Caswell Hazard & Co on it. About 2” by 3”. Found it in my Grandfather’s stuff. He collected anything he thought was neat." —Caymonki

Reddit | Caymonki

Definitely a neat collectors' item, but not something to play with. It's an old medical kit. The "medicines" in the vials would be dissolved in water and then injected.

Of course, most of those medicines are actually poisonous.

"I got this free with a bottle of Disaronno. What is this thing?" —burningflower

Reddit | burningflower

My first thought was a bottle stopper, but the open grooves wouldn't work well for that. Apparently, it's actually a small lemon juicer.

"This rack is full of wooden blocks, sorted by length and width. Origins unknown. The only label is a warning about wood shrinkage." —danrmatth

Reddit | danrmatth

The blocks are used in printmaking. After the type is set, the wooden blocks are used to fill the extra space and hold the type snuggly.

"What is this thing? Previous owner didn’t know and I have no idea. Had it for years now we use it in winter to keep drinks warm by the fire." —Pi11r0113r

Reddit | Pi11r0113r

Using it to keep drinks warm was the right thought. This is a fireplace kettle trivet for keeping that kettle going through the cold months.

"This equipment was on the side of a stage during a music concert." —thisdinosaurisgreen

Reddit | thisdinosaurisgreen

There is a lot of tech involved in a live concert and not all of it has an obvious purpose.

This strange device is actually a helical antenna, which is used to send signals to wireless microphones or in-ear monitors.

"Found on the Appalachian Trail near Watauga dam in Tennessee, not sure if it has anything to do with the dam itself." — tremellas

Reddit | tremellas

It's likely a seismic sensor and listens for any rumbles in the ground below, which is an important part of maintaining the dam. It's also possible that it's a ground water pollutant sensor, which look similar.

"I found these in a box after my Grandpa passed away... I don't know what they are. They were in the wrong box." —jsask1999

Reddit | jsask1999

They are the pieces to a board game called Admirals. Clearly, Grandpa was like me and could never keep game pieces properly put away.

"What is this large metal capsule on display in this person's front yard?" —CrashDunning

Reddit | CrashDunning

It looks like an alien escape pod, but it's actually just a cool-looking composter. I've seen smaller versions, but this one is particularly epic.

"Friend posted on FB. This is the only picture." —twoVices

Reddit | twoVices

If your first thought was something naughty, you're not alone, but the slats are actually thin wood, not leather.

It's actually a Batak Calendar from Indonesia.

"They're doing some sort of construction just down the block. They have the road dug up and pipes channeling water from a big hole to this bag. What the heck is it and what's it for?" —sisisgone

Reddit | sisisgone

It's a sediment bag. Sending waste water through it during construction work filters out the dirt and debris so that it doesn't fill up the local sewers.

"Found this while moving into a new apartment. Was in the cutlery drawer but doesn't seem to fit in. What is this? Hoping it's not what I think it is." — rabpo

Reddit | rabpo

What did they think it is...? My first thought was a novelty Harry Potter wand.

It's a corksicle. You freeze it and then put it in a bottle of wine to chill it.

"Under a stairwell in a building at my university, any ideas?" —BetWal98

Reddit | BetWal98

It's a turbine engine with the covers off and a cutaway to see inside. Presumably it has educational purposes, but ended up collecting dust in the stairwell.

"Red blobs on a housefly's head." — TheSpiderLady88

Reddit | TheSpiderLady88

Those are mites. Ew.

Thankfully, they're probably just catching a ride and are non-parasitic.

"Joystick-like thingy found in bus station public toilet." — whc2001

Reddit | whc2001

It's actually a coat/bag hanger, but since it's been installed incorrectly, I can see why it's confusing.

"Found in a Mechanical Turk task post. I've been looking at it for weeks and its driving me nuts!" —hlidsaeda

Reddit | hlidsaeda

I can see why this thing would be baffling. It's the top piece of a tattoo machine.

This one appears to be custom made.

"Found this in my Honda CRV. Gonna leave it in until the police arrive. It unlocked the door but the alarm still went off."

Reddit | dino-dic-hella-thicc

That's a rubber car key or brute force key. A piece of metal shaved down to fit into a lock and force it open.

When a local officer came to take a look, he was actually surprised that the tool even worked. Three teenage girls were caught later trying to steal a different car in the high school parking lot.

"On a highway there are often two sets of three “chunks” of cement that are different than the surrounding surface. They are typically in the tire tread space of the roadway." — MagicAmoeba

Reddit | MagicAmoeba

They are likely a retrofit using dowel bars. Steel bars are used to cross the edges between separate road slabs, to help prevent warping of the road over time.

"What are these markings on a California highway for?" — celebrated_turtle

Reddit | celebrated_turtle

In a similar vein is this question about octagon patterns in California. These are induction loops, sensors that can tell when a vehicle is on top of them. This can be used to count traffic, monitor jams, and even let streetlights know when someone is waiting for the green.

"Found at the bottom of a small pond that was drained. About 2 feet in diameter." — OMGHart

Reddit | OMGHart

This is an artificial fish habitat. They give fish a place to feel safe and hidden, and the smooth pipes make it less likely that fish hooks will get caught on them.

"Purchased at Shrine Sale in Japan." — ymtheniceguy

Reddit | ymtheniceguy

"Shrine sales" are kind of like big swap meets, where locals gather to trade and sell items with each other.

This person managed to snag this Chinese Ivory Puzzle Ball for 2000 yen. Or about $20. If it happens to be real ivory, it could be worth a fortune, though it may be difficult to travel with it.

"Underside of a Honda Civic. The dealer tried to say it was a manufacturer spray to protect from rust. I’ve never seen anything like it but I’m from Texas. Is it BS? What is it?" — chickachickslimshady

Reddit | chickachickslimshady

It makes sense that someone from a southern state may not be familiar with this. It's a rubberized coating that helps protect the underside of the vehicle from the damage created by snowy winters and road salt.

"What are these trailer looking things at the airport?" — Notaodeadjeb

Reddit | Notaodeadjeb

These are passenger delivery vehicles, which were more common in the mid-20th Century. Instead of boarding the plane via a gate, passengers would ride in these "mobile lounges" to the plane, where the whole lounge would then raise up to meet the plane's door.

"Silicon rubber figures, in sitting position, with X's for eyes. Possibly, some sort of kitchen tool? Received as a gift." — MrTrimpot

Reddit | MrTrimpot

They are "lid lifters". The little dudes hang off the edge of your pot, giving the lid a small boost to let steam escape and prevent boil-overs.

"I got this thing for Christmas and I do not know what it is or how to use it. I think I wear it and somehow use it to carry things?" — pitoparai

Reddit | pitoparai

Why do so many gifts come without explanations? This is just a scarf that buckles in front, but I can see how that might baffle someone who hasn't seen it before.

"My dad found this while digging in Indiana, it is bigger than a football. Can't really get more information because he is far away from us." — TGabc

Reddit | TGabc

That is a gorgeous example of slag glass. Slag is the by-product of smelting ore, leftover after the metal is extracted. It's often dull, but under the right conditions can become a colorful display piece.

"Noticed this square plastic transparent thing on the top of a 3D glass. What is this for? There's a panel with a screw at the backside." — sidx64

Reddit | sidx64

You'll see these only on "active" 3D glasses. It's an infrared sensor that tells the glasses which frame should be "seen" allowing the lenses to darken and lighten to match the left or right eye. It happens too fast to actually see.

It's also the style that gives me massive headaches, sadly.

"This comb looking thing found in a box of silver flatware and serving platters. “Blade Made In England” stamped on the back." — kozakandy17

Reddit | kozakandy17

It's a cake breaker, which is used to carefully slice delicate chiffon cakes without squashing them.

I am disappointed in it not being called a "cake rake".

"Any idea what this is? Clear plastic with watch batteries inside (maybe)." — neisha_campbell

Reddit | neisha_campbell

It's a small power pack for something that lights up or makes noise. Maybe from a novelty Christmas sweater or a set of fairy lights.

"Weird cone/ witches hat shape. Numbered markings on the outside and nothing on the inside. Buddy found it in the woods." — Sdudzy

Reddit | Sdudzy

Definitely a strange thing to find in the woods. It's a cover for flat roofs where pipes come out to keep water from getting in around the pipe.

"My parents have this fairly old desk that has a somewhat hidden mirror in the front two legs, does anyone know why?" — therubbabandman

Reddit | therubbabandman

The mirrors supposedly make the decorative carvings on the outside look fancier. They open for easier cleaning of the mirrors.

"Just found this randomly on the floor, it’s very small." — Whipitrash

Reddit | Whipitrash

It's a testing strip for blood sugar. Probably harmless, but as with anything that could be in contact with blood, you shouldn't touch it with your bare hands.

"What is this in my beef pho??" — iamurgrandma

Reddit | iamurgrandma

It's tripe, which is stomach lining.

Now, if you've enjoyed the pho many times before and were simply curious, then that shouldn't scare you away. But it's definitely a surprise when you don't expect it.

"Found this thrifting, is it an antique jewelry box or maybe sewing box?" — Summer731

Reddit | Summer731

It's too small to be a hat box, but that's because it's actually a collar box form back when men's starched collars were separate from their shirts. The small compartment in the middle would hold the collar studs or other small accessories, like tie pins or cuff links.

"I found this hanging from the basement rafters of my 100 year old house. It appears to be two marbles or something similar in a hanger of some sort." —debo3883

Reddit | debo3883

I'll give you a moment to clear the joke answers from your mind. Done giggling? Good.

This is actually a tool used to hone razor blades, allowing the user to get a bit more life out of it before needing to get it properly sharpened.

"Cruising around Kyoto and lots of places have this bamboo out the front. What does it do?" —WizzPotter934

Reddit | WizzPotter934

Basically, they keep people from leaning against the building's exterior and make it so dogs (and people) can't pee on it either. The bamboo would be far easier and cheaper to replace if it rots from urine than the original wood of the building.

"What is this thing? Found near Mt Kinabalu in Malaysia." —ackbleet

Reddit | ackbleet

My first thought upon seeing this pic was of the movie Annihilation, but thankfully, there's nothing alien about this. The red stalks are just the flowering part of the palm tree, but the fruit on this one has all been removed.

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