12+ Times We Asked 'What Is This Thing?' And The Internet Knew The Answer

Ever looked at something and wondered what the heck it was? I think everyone has.

In the days before Google, you were stuck hoping someone nearby might know. Even now, it can sometimes take some serious Google-fu to find things. That's where Reddit comes in. Reddit always knows the answers.

1. This sword piece was found while a Reddit user was metal-detecting. 

Reddit | Reddit

It's a religious piece for Shia Muslims, possibly part of jewelry. According to one Reddit user, the script says, "There is no boy except Ali, and there is no sword except Tho Alfaqar."

2. During an open house, someone was curious about this strange kitchen contraption they didn't recognize.

Reddit | makergonnamake

It's a pour-over coffee maker. A very nice custom one. I quite like the look of it, though it's a bit bulky for my own kitchen.

3. "What are these huge lights in the desert an hour outside Las Vegas?" —ganymedeonolympus

Reddit | ganymedeonolympus

They aren't actually lights, but mirrors. That's a solar farm. The mirrors reflect the sunlight down onto the panels. This helps to get the highest concentration of light, regardless of where the sun is in the sky.

4. Reddit user racheltime wondered what these college students were watching in this photo from the early 1970s.

Reddit | racheltime

It's called The History Machine, which was released by Chelsea House Publishing. Cartridges of compiled newsreels and footage could be watched with it.

5. If I came across this strange bottle thing, I'd wonder about it too. 

Reddit | bludvarg

It's nothing but a fancy contact lens cleaning case. It's used with a special hydrogen peroxide cleaner, and usually, these cases are disposable.

6. "Massive net next to a main road near Manchester." —mooseblud

Reddit | mooseblud

The first question asked in the comments was whether or not there was a golf course nearby, and it turns out that there was! This net is the last barrier to prevent stray balls from flying onto the road.

7. This device was found while cleaning up a warehouse. 

Reddit | icecruzader

The red part turns, dispensing white pegs. Turns out that those pegs are actually replacement flint for Zippo-style lighters and this is a dispenser for them that someone probably lost.

8. This strange pod was purchased for a hamster and the Reddit user wondered what it was.

Reddit | therealjetboy

It's a kapok tree pod. The pods are harvested for the cotton-like fiber inside, which is used for tons of applications. It's become a popular alternative for cotton bedding in hamster cages.

9. This strange device was found while cleaning out a grandparent's house.

Reddit | BeMacized

Most likely, it's a home medical device of the long-debunked "electropathy" craze. Electrodes were attached to the ailing body part and the device was cranked to create a current.

10. "Found this on the side of my window. It did connect to the window seal." —awaresalt

Reddit | awaresalt

I'd certainly be freaked out by this at first, but it's a mason bee nest. These great pollinators rarely sting and create their homes in existing nooks by shaping them with mud.

11. Not what you expect to find clinging to the bottom of a discarded can at the beach.

Reddit | bryceruthy

It's a "blue button" or porpita porpita. It looks similar to a jellyfish, but the species aren't related. They float atop the water and feed on plankton and larvae. They do sting, but the irritation is mild.

12. This kind of looks like a puzzle device from a treasure hunt.

Reddit | morethescarier_

But sadly, it's not nearly so cool. It's a tool used by locksmiths (and less savory characters) to pick certain brands of car locks. Some bike locks can be cracked with these too.

13. "'JL 04 JL' written on the bottom, minimum 60 years old, given to me by my older neighbor who grew up in Canada and had it since he was young." —Lycian-Sarpedon

Reddit | Lycian-Sarpedon

It's a fancy, antique, and awesome-looking stapler. Hopefully, he figures out how to get it working.

14. If I ever come across things in nature that are highlighter green, I walk the other way.

Reddit | The_Yarl

It's a slime mold called Stemonitis flavogenita, still in its early stages of growth. So not some alien or Toxic Avenger thing, but still kind of gross.

15. This is why you don't forget homemade condiments in the back of dark cupboards.

Reddit | adun-d

This was made from the juice of bitter oranges and should have been refrigerated. Most likely, the growth is scoby, a living culture of bacteria and yeast. They're often used to make fermented drinks, like kombucha, but I don't think this one's safe to try.

16. These strange contraptions appeared in a yard and one of the neighbors was curious.

Reddit | RealTomorrow

Though there were lots of theories, all it finally took was some local sleuthing to find out that they're an unfinished art installation. When complete, they'll light up at night.

17. Military pins are so beautifully made, but I don't always know their specific use.

Reddit | CyrusTheCray

Thankfully, at least one Redditor is in the United States Air Force and confirmed that they have the exact same pin on their uniform hat.

18. The user probably already knew this was mold on their ceiling, but was hoping they were wrong.

Reddit | LoneinCalgary

Nope. But the commenters helped out with tips for how to fight it off (5% bleach solution and more ventilation) until the drywall can be properly replaced.

19. '70s anime action figures are pretty creepy.

Reddit | James_Fennell

This one was identified as a character called Alcor from the Grendizer anime. It was extra confusing because of the "SJ" on its belt. That probably means the same molds were used as for Hasbro's "Super Joe" figures.

20. "What is this part in my Whirlpool portable dishwasher? It’s not in the manual and I need to figure out how to take it off and clean under it." —adawnb

Reddit | adawnb

It seems that the water level sensor wouldn't be in the manual, but thankfully, it's easy to remove and clean.

21. Sometimes, you find random things while cleaning.

Reddit | Va11e

This is a gyro exerciser device, meant to help improve hand coordination and strength and help fight the effects of repetitive stress injuries.

22. Cities have so many random poles and devices kicking around that it's hard to know what they all are.

Reddit | ragdesh

This one found all over London is actually part of a wireless network, helping spread 4G mobile internet coverage.

23. Offices are also a common place to find strange devices.

Reddit | Type_DXL

A lot of them tend to be old equipment that's become obsolete, but not this one. This is a sensor meant to inform the maintenance department when something gets placed in front of the emergency stuff, like the fire extinguisher hanging above this one.

24. "Old wooden device found in my local theater." —flamingponypro

Reddit | flamingponypro

It's a Magic Lantern, which is super cool! They are an old kind of projector that used candle light to shine through glass panels with images either painted on or photographed, projecting the image on a screen.