20 Weird And Obscure Objects The Internet Helped People Name

Custom-built multi-purpose truck
reddit | MamboNumber5Guy

If you're the kind of person who needs to mentally catalogue every single thing you see, you know how frustrating it can be when you spot something unusual and can't quite understand its purpose.

Fortunately, there's a community for you. The good folks over at the r/whatisthisthing subreddit will almost certainly identify it for you in record time.

"Steel box with arms coming out that connect to railroad tracks. Lots of grease around it."

Oiler next to train tracks
reddit | CedarSlayer

There are plenty of train fans who jumped all over this one. The grease in the area is due to the fact that this thing — an oiler — is designed to distribute grease before curves to cut down on squeaking.

"Large hole in the ground in Washington, DC."

Tunnel boring project
reddit | Delicious_Ostrich69

This is the start of a new tunnel boring project near Washington's Ivy City Railyard. This big hole is just for access to build a new tunnel that will move sewage out of DC.

"Silver I bought at a flea market. It weighs 14.2 grams and is about 1 inch by 2. Lots of markings on both sides."

Reproduction of old Spanish colonial coin
reddit | poshjosh1999

This represents plata corriente, an old Spanish colonial coin. It's likely a reproduction, but still a cool find.

"Round disk 3.4 x 0.75 inches (85 x 19 mm) aluminum outside ring, center seems to be brass and between the two is a material which is more plasticky like bakelite."

Slice of old power transmission cable
reddit | futureconstruct

This looks like an elegant display piece, but it's actually a slice of old cable — likely power transmission cable from a few decades ago.

"What is this? It appears to be multiple PVC pipes sticking out of the ground. Pipes are located in the back yard near a river. Doesn't seem to have any moving parts and the height is about 3 feet tall."

Homemade paddle board rack made of PVC pipe
reddit | ParaplegicPython

Here's an example of PVC pipes being used not as pipes, but as a building material. This is a homemade standup rack for a paddle board or kayak.

"I found this in the bathroom cupboard of the new house I bought. The middle hexagon part is magnetic, the cables are C charger."

Monster Digit 3D LED Art Panels 3-Segment Starter Kit
reddit | dd487

With USB-C charging, you know this isn't that old. Turns out it's part of a starter kit for smart light panels that can be attached to a wall.

"I keep finding these in Middle Eastern homes. It's an egg holder with a bit of grease inside, tipped with aluminium foil."

Mini bowl for church oil
reddit | Cairo_Suite

Some commenters thought this was a hookah bowl, just without the hookah. But one commenter was absolutely certain that it's a mini bowl, really just a replica, for church oil.

"Pod with solar panels and antenna."

Control pod for avalanche control
reddit | fartlestix5000

It looks like something that could be strapped on a rocket and sent to space, but its purpose is more earthly. This is a control pod for detecting and preventing avalanches in the mountains.

"Found this in our little free library. It’s large, hollow, and strangely, made with solid wax?

A luminary, or fake candle
reddit | polinalewis

The technical term for this would be 'luminary'. It's almost like a faux candle. If you put a battery-powered flickering candle inside, it'll look like one big candle.

"This metal decorative floral piece, removable petals, 10” long, on a table top."

An ornate flower-themed ashtray
reddit | Pooch76

In the days when smoking was more commonplace, ashtrays were also more commonplace. This ornate item is simply that: an ashtray. It's just a bit fancier than most.

"Found in the Netherlands, can lift the cylinder with the handle."

A cigarette dispenser
reddit | vfeskens

Let's stay on theme here with an item from the days of widespread cigarette smoking. This thing is a desktop cigarette dispenser that appears to be handcrafted.

"This plastic box is glued by years of paint to my wall, only says 'Air King' on it."

Box for doorbell chime
reddit | lambchopper71

It's always exciting when you recognize one of these weird items, and I definitely recognize this. It's just the box that contains the doorbell chimes. Many houses have one.

"Found at an estate sale in New Hampshire. About 3 feet tall, gold colored, but silver inside. Some sort of brackets on the back. Hollow like a bucket, pretty lightweight."

A grape hod
reddit | r1ch999999

Is it a coal bucket? An urn for ashes? No, it's just an old grape hod. What's a grape hod, you may ask? It's just a bucket...for grapes.

"Blue piece coming out of the bottom of the wall wall in a new apartment."

Stray piece of blue shrink wrap under a wall
reddit | drezel1

Fortunately, this isn't mold or evidence of a bug infestation. It's just a stray piece of shrink wrap from a recent renovation project. It's a new apartment, after all.

"Small hole thing that water comes out of when the faucet spout is on, what is this for?"

Mount for a shower head
reddit | lucie_the_lurker

The little hole is for mounting an additional accessory, such as a handheld showerhead. There really ought to be a way to turn it off.

"Found in the back yard of a house dating from late 1700s. Made of iron, looks decently old."

Cutter tooth from a mower
reddit | bigpog_champ

This is nothing more than the cutter tooth from a lawnmower. How old is it? I don't know, but it looks pretty old.

"Weird thing in my car's gas cap area."

Magnetic mount for storing a glove
reddit | saturnzava

"I was filling my car up at a gas station and noticed this weird metal tile that had been left in the little area where my gas cap/tank is," this post continued. "I drive a ‘99 so anyone can open my gas cover. Lemme know if I’m being tracked or anything."

This is part of an obscure car accessory known as a Pump Pal. It's just a glove, more or less, designed to protect the wearer from touching the gas pump. The thing you're looking at is a magnetic mount for storing the glove.

"This strange plant we found."

Strongylodon macrobotrys, or jade vine
reddit | guijcm

If it's a plant, you know someone out there knows exactly what it is. This particular plant is a strongylodon macrobotrys, more commonly known as a jade vine. Interestingly, it also appears on a Philippines coin.

"What is this orange plastic extender? Lightweight, collapses and extends."

Vacuum sealing chamber accessory
reddit | Blade253350

Vacuum sealers need a way to keep liquid out of the machine when sealing a container of liquid. This strange orange device is designed for that purpose: keeping liquids out of the vacuum sealing chamber.

"Mazda with odd aluminium rack thing, and many lights. Has yellow sign specifying that it's not a tow truck."

Custom-built multi-purpose truck
reddit | MamboNumber5Guy

This vehicle is well known to residents of Penticton, BC. The owner describes it as a custom truck that can do anything, from camping to hauling to helping with movie production.