Reddit | zachwillwin

16+ Times People Just Had To Know What Something Was

Hey game show gurus, if you're looking for the next big thing, look no further than the r/whatisthisthing subreddit.

You could line up a bunch of contestants and ask them to tell you what an odd, unusual, downright weird thing was called, and win fabulous prizes if they can actually come up with the right answer.

You just might not want to ask the r/whatisthisthing community in general because they've got one amazing track record for solving these little mysteries. Just check out some of their recent successes.

And hey, if someone does turn it into a game show, I want a cut.

"Silver drum/disks, 1 in 40 had this inside, the rest were empty."

Reddit | DITButt

It's reasonable to think that few people would be able to recognize this but naturally, someone in the subreddit knew exactly what it was: a ring laser gyroscope, which is an incredibly expensive, incredibly sensitive devices to measure rotational rates, often used in GPS.

This would probably be worth a lot of money if it wasn't marked "scrap."

"This was found with old tools. Doesn't seem to attach to anything. It can lock in place and the middle bit turns round, unravelling two straps of fabric. I'm stumped!"

Reddit | shantayyoustayyy

Not the sort of thing you could really expect a 21st century audience to identify but someone did: it's a Victorian-era book holder. The straps of fabric wrap around the books you want to carry.

"What is this netted enclosure with lots of cameras? There's a few dozen cameras placed around the inside and the whole thing is netted closed. Any ideas?"

Reddit | captainxam1

It's a worthy question because usually when you want to keep things inside or outside an area, you use tougher materials like metal and stone.

What's this netting going to do? Well, this is a more modern issue — it's a drone cage. That netting helps to keep everyone safe in the rare case of a malfunction.

"What is this insulation/yarn like material that keeps appearing in my car’s glove box? I’ve thrown it away twice but it keeps coming back."

Reddit | greenbox723

Well, that stuff that looks like insulation is insulation, but the fact that it keeps coming back is the concerning part. It means there's almost certainly a mouse living in this person's car.

"An antenna pointing at an office building. Anybody know what it may be used for?"

Reddit | bubblehack3r

Some "enterprising" person aimed this antenna at that office building with good reason — the antenna is picking up the wifi signal from it. Basically, someone's piggybacking off their wifi.

"What is this thing and how do you play? This gambling wheel that my parents bought at an antique store. Has roulette wheel around the edges, cards, dice, numbers, and words."

Reddit | ComptrEyes

"What is this" is the easy part — it's an all-in-one game wheel designed primarily around roulette.

It also has the ability to play a bunch of other games like faro, poker, horse races, and more. How you use it would, I imagine, require a very thick instruction booklet.

"Two Slots Built into a wall around knee high in a 1955 house with what appears to be wooden 'reeds.'"

This is one of those features that was custom-built for this house so the uploader ended up getting a family member involved to clear it up.

A true '50s throwback, it's a cigarette pack dispenser. They'd be loaded in from the other side, which was the kitchen, and picked up from here.

"What is this pan for? My parents found it while cleaning out their cabinet."

Reddit | dj-milk-problems

Man, I have been there, finding something in the back of the cupboard that you know you must have purchased at some point but is still completely foreign to you.

This frying pan is specifically intended for greasy meats like bacon — all those little valleys help channel the drippings, and you can rotate the pan to drain it off as you fry.

"Weird stuff found in an old jewelry [shop]."

Reddit | OhNo4444

The oddest part of this one is that these keepsakes were found in Italy among stuff from a family that had never visited China.

But these things are definitely Chinese in origin — as some folks pointed out, they're from a brand of Chinese liquor, so they're most likely little promotional materials that contained samples.

"Found in my new home, built in the 1950s."

Reddit | hoodstarrr

Obviously, in today's homes these panels would look slightly different — in the '50s, this is how you'd turn your burglar alarm on and off.

Turn the key to the left to arm it — indicated by the green light — or to the right to disarm it, indicated by the red light. So much simpler, right?

"It had a partial label on it with, 'Vancouver' and a pic of a ski jumper. Does anyone have a clue?"

Reddit | wizardshawn

Okay, that's a puzzler. Why would something like this have a ski jumper on it? Maybe a really odd Winter Olympics souvenir?

The ski jumper was a clue, but it's not a souvenir — it's a ski wax iron.

"Found in a storage unit. Appears to be brass or copper water pitcher/tea set with no markings. HOWEVER has holes on the bottom of the 'pitcher.' What could this be??"

Reddit | chill_bamba

I agree, it looks like a pitcher but not the most efficient pitcher, that's for sure. And unless you're from a culture that drinks a lot of tea, you'd probably be stumped as well.

This is a samovar, used to keep tea warm and dispense a lot of it at large gatherings.

"We’re cleaning our house and found this. It has a weird material on top that idk what it is, im pretty sure rubber? And the base is plastic and square but also have these curves cut into it. The inside is hollow and kinda eggish shape. Do we throw it out or keep it?"

That's the important factor for weird things at my house: is it something we should toss out or hang onto?

And for these folks, it depends on how much renovating they have planned, because it's a sanding block holder. The sanding block goes underneath, and the rubber part is the grip.

"A bunch of three armed poles, near the bike stands. The arms rotate. Outside a tower block in London."

Reddit | devilsrfun

Sure doesn't look like this was designed with convenient access to the building in mind, does it?

And of course it's not — it's an art installation, and it's not supposed to be convenient. It's modeled after traditional English garden mazes, but using turnstiles instead of hedges.

"My sister found these behind an outlet in her house. What are these things?"

Reddit | Maiatauri

I would be concerned about odd things connected to my wiring as well, but these are, thankfully, perfectly harmless.

Back in the days of land lines, these things would typically be used to splice phone lines together. Although in theory, they could be used for other wiring as well.

"What is this part of the screw for? Why does the thread pitch change, assuming it's threads."

Reddit | zachwillwin

Pretty sure all the woodworkers and carpenters out there know what the deal is with those odd threads on this screw, but I'm glad someone asked because they're new to me.

They're there to make the screw self-countersinking, which allows two pieces of wood being joined together to be pulled together more tightly.

"This is made of metal, stamped 'Japan' and the number 5 on the bottom. The holes do not go all the way through, except for the centre. I have no idea what this could be."

Reddit | DirtDigglerDan

Like so many things on this list, this one would make much more sense seeing it filled out — this is an old, cast iron candle holder.

I have to imagine that it would be a challenge to find candles that are skinny enough to fit in those holes, but I could easily be wrong about that.

"What is this thing? It was a souvenir that one of my uncles had from back in the mid 80s. The balls are ceramic and slightly heavy and both make jingling sounds when shaken around. There are no markings on the box."

Reddit | PiggyGamesALot

Although they look like little soccer balls, they're not for kicking — that's just for looks.

No, these are baoding balls; the idea is to hold them both in one hand and twirl them around, which creates a nice, soothing tone. Between that and the motion, they're supposed to help lower your stress levels.

"Just moved into a new home and found this in the kitchen. It has a button that moves something inside but doesn't do anything. What is this thing?"

Reddit | germinha

Boy, tech in homes has changed so much, and considering how few homes would find something like this necessary, it's little wonder this thing is unfamiliar.

It's an annunciator, the sort of thing you'd use to call a servant to a particular room — think of the bells that called the servants in something like Downton Abbey, but higher tech.

"They installed this thing on the ceiling of my apartment building. The green light makes a buzz sound with each flash"

Reddit | kendomama

Well, that would definitely get your attention, wouldn't it? I'd be wondering what was causing that weird buzzing noise too!

Turns out, the buzzing is the point — it's a device intended to repel insects and other pests with that noise. No word on whether it actually works or not, however.

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