Reddit | ConfectioNurse

15+ Odd Things The Internet Was Challenged To Identify

I highly doubt that any one person out there knows all the proper names of all the things in their home. I know that I have referred to a side table as a side table for years before learning that it was actually called a credenza, for example. But until someone with that knowledge came along, how was I to know? Before that, it was just the thing the rubber plant and the lamp lived on.

If you've ever wondered about any of the items you've encountered, you're far from alone. There's a whole community on Reddit just for the purpose of identifying things, r/whatisthisthing. They're amazing at it, too. Just check out some of the odd things they've been challenged to identify, and done so successfully.

"My contractor brings this with him into my house every day and I’m not sure what it is. It says 'Uraguay' on the front."

Reddit | legalize_branch

And if you're from Uruguay, or pretty much anywhere else in South America, chances are you knew what this container was at a glance: it's a yerba mate cup.

Yerba mate is a sort of herbal tea that's served either hot or cold and is more popular than coffee in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil.

"A friend of mine saw this in a thrift store, but what the heck is it?!?!"

Reddit | mom2blu

If it's a chair, it's a funny looking one, right? And how odd to have a space where you'd normally want to rest your head.

It's the divots along side the oval that provide the necessary clue — this is a shelving unit. The shelving brackets would slide into those grooves.

"Little door next to big door. Every apartment has one."

Reddit | ahmadtaib10

No, they're not for house elves or pets or anything like that — they're a throwback to a simpler time when milk was delivered to your door.

The milkman could open the little door, set your bottles of milk inside, and you could open it from the other side and retrieve your milk without having to go out into the hallway.

"No idea what this is, passed down in the family we’ve had it since the 1880s as it was owned by my grandmother’s grandmother."

Reddit | rymerster

Sometimes family heirlooms are like that, right? You get the object but not necessarily the story behind it.

But many of the folks on Reddit knew who the figure in this artwork was, at least: Tie Guan Li, one of the Eight Immortals of Chinese legend, and it appears to have broken off from a larger set that may have included the other seven.

"This thing is above my hospital bed... None of the nurses know what it is/is for."

Reddit | UnusualSoup

It's never an encouraging sign when even the nurses don't know what something in the hospital is — except in this case. This is an emergency light, which will only come on when the power throughout the building fails.

So, good news, that hospital hasn't needed to use those lights.

"My dad found this on the road, he picked it up so that no one ran it over, we have no idea what it is, its dull at the top, and gets a bit thinner towards the bottom."

Reddit | dandan787

Honestly, to me this looks like it could be one of about a dozen different things. But of course the folks on Reddit had the answer: it's a cap for a fence post, more properly referred to as a "finial."


"Found this while renovating. Any idea? Bomb squad on the way. Montreal, QC"


Well that will get your heart beating in the morning, won't it? And it was indeed unexploded ordnance, which Montreal's police dutifully took care of.

But trust Reddit to come up with the exact kind of ordnance from this rusty image: a 4.5 inch howitzer shell from WWI. As for why it was there, well, the uploader's house was originally built for workers producing shells for the war effort back in 1915.

"An old shield from my grandparents. About 30cm across. Has 'Elkington' inscribed on the back."

Reddit | ezyaffordable

Well, it's a shield all right, and as the inscription suggests, it was made by Elkington & Co., of Birmingham, England.

For what purpose is unclear exactly but given that it's mounted on a piece of wood, it's either decorative or possibly a fire place screen.

"What is this hole under my partner’s porch? He just moved in a few days ago (to the apartment not the hole). It also looks like...raw sewage?"

Uh, so Reddit had some bad news for this person. Yep, that's raw sewage. That hole is for a clean out line.

Down the line, there's a blockage, and it's backed up to the point that all the stuff that's been flushed down is coming back up.

"Found in a house I moved into. The chain has two corks attached on either end."

Reddit | lilly_kilgore

You never know what former owners are going to leave behind, amirite? This is actually a pretty groovy invention from the '70s — it's a wine carafe.

The hole in the side holds ice to keep your beverage chilled without diluting it.

"WIT Wall Dongus in our new apartment. It is loose and pulling it out of the wall shows that it's attached to a cable. The little rondell on the front is a button."

The good news is that this wasn't hooked up to anything because the uploader pushed it a few times while trying to figure out what it was for.

Had it been active, they would have gotten a visit from either the police or a security company rep because it's a panic button for an alarm system.

"Friend received this passed down from his great great grandfather. It’s believed to be from Persia & about 2,000 years old."

Reddit | trvlbugspnnner

Maybe it's just me, but I believe things that are 2,000 years old should be in museums, but hey, family heirlooms are funny things.

No word on whether the uploader will indeed be seeking out archaeological assistance, but this thing has been identified: it's a pin, likely for fastening clothing or just worn for decoration.

"Mounds outside of hotel near Seoul."

Reddit | PowdahedShugah

I have to admit, if I saw a scene like this outside my hotel room, I'd wonder too. There's nothing ominous about them, however; they're just Korean burial mounds.

"About 1.5 inches long soft metal pincher thing."

Reddit | loratineboratine

Okay, this one fooled me. I thought for sure it was just a money clip. But no, it's a tool specifically used to pull the stems off strawberries.

"Some sort of magnifying glass my dad found at a boot sale for 50p."

Reddit | Cladski85

A couple of people guessed that this large, clunky-looking thing was for overhead projectors, perhaps, which is close. This lens would have come from a photographic enlarger for particularly big jobs.

"'Brass Bomb' or that's what the guy at the estate sale called it. It's heavy, metal body, and has 18 concave brass nobly things. No markings of any kind. Seems to be solid. Ideas?"

Reddit | ConfectioNurse

Pretty sure if you saw something like that in a video game, you'd do your best to either avoid it or disarm it, so "brass bomb" is a fitting description.

But it's really just a home decor object. It's just one of those things that supposed to sit on your credenza and look neat.

"Tiny glass cylinder with magnetic balls and dark liquid inside. Found magnet fishing in SE United States."

Reddit | lilligant_valor

Bit of an ironic solve here, as the tiny glass thing was found while metal fishing turns out to be the rattle from a fishing lure.

Makes sense, to be sure, but it's also something I never would have guessed.

"What are these spikes we found clogging an outdoor pipe?"

Reddit | Matmo1992

Well, that's unfortunate — these spikes found clogging a pipe appear to belong to a hedgehog.

And since hedgehogs don't usually just leave a bunch of spikes behind them, it's going to be bad news for the poor thing.

"Small white balls that appear on the terrace after rain. Any idea?"

Reddit | Verb_Noun_Number

Seems about as obscure as you can get — just minuscule white balls that only seem to show up after rain? Not a ton to go on here.

And while there was much speculation about the balls being from roofing or turf, the uploader noted that they had once had beanbag cushions out on their terrace — the white balls were likely filling for them.

"Small little sacs forming on the first floor ceiling below my guest bathroom."

Reddit | hungdiddybop

Oh. Yum.

The good news is that it's not an egg sac from some insect moving in. The bad news is that it's a mushroom, which likely means there's a slow leak above, and some costly repairs ahead.

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