Reddit | fidebo

39 Weird Things People Found But Needed Help Identifying

Have you ever come across something weird in your home or while out and about and wondered "what is that thing?"

Of course you have. Thankfully, in the age of the internet, there is a place to ask every question and for random discoveries you can turn to the subreddit r/whatisthisthing.

"Looks like a plumb bob, but has dials that turn and strange markings. Maybe it was something else in a past life?" — dgdrox15

Reddit | dgdrox15

It's an old timed fuse, likely from Japanese artillery, repurposed into a pretty cool plumb bob.

A plumb bob is an old-fashioned way get a vertical reference line, before the invention of the spirit level we use today.

"What is this thing in my wine?" — JohnWhatSun

Reddit | JohnWhatSun

It's just the dregs, but it can definitely be a surprise if you decide to swig that last bit of wine directly from the bottle. Wine dregs are made up of leftover bits of grape solids, yeast cells, tartaric acid crystals, and other little bits from the winemaking process.

"What is this weird teacup looking thing that came into our shop?" — johnsinternetsales

Reddit | johnsinternetsales

If you're going to sell a vintage item, you need to know what it should be listed as. This is a scuttle, which is a kind of shaving mug with a large spout for pouring in the hot water.

"Yellow balls in a plastic case found under kitchen sink." — poesraven8628

Reddit | poesraven8628

Having never had a home with a garbage disposal, I would have been confused too. These are deodorizor capsules.

"I am assuming a toilet support because someone big prob sat on front of end of the bowl and ripped it off the wall. Either way never seen it before. America." — bluemoonrising1769

Reddit | bluemoonrising1769

You assume correctly. It's certainly easier to keep a bathroom floor clean if you don't have to get the mop around the base of a toilet, but otherwise wall-mounted models aren't really known for their structural integrity.

"Found in a demolition along with old money. They appear to made from some sort of fabric." — nzjester420

Reddit | nzjester420

They are 25 Mark notes made of linen specifically by the bank of Bielefeld in 1921. They aren't real money, per se, but more like a gift printed by the city to be given out that can then be used in local shops before a specific date. Those retailers can then exchange them for real money from the city.

Sort of like a special gift card.

"Found in my office. It snaps and curls up - rubber type material. Also bends in the middle. Any ideas?" — king-kongs-finger

Reddit | king-kongs-finger

Clearly, this person was never a girl in the '90s, because that is a very bright slap bracelet.

"I got a pen yesterday and wondered what this yellow thing on the back is, it has the consistency of wax or a crayon. It's not an eraser." — Sab3rHunt3r

Reddit | Sab3rHunt3r

It's a gel highlighter and you probably didn't realize that's what it was supposed to be when you tried it because gel highlighters are the worst.

"I often see these things falling from the sky near where I live." —fidebo

Reddit | fidebo

Once someone in the comments asked about whether fidebo lived near a military base — they do — it was easy to answer. It's a flare.

Apparently it's common for pilots to fire one as thanks for refuelling.

"My mom received this in the mail and we aren't sure what this is at all. There are two of them and they are made of rubber." — Csteinwa

Reddit | Csteinwa

Yeah, I can see why Mom was confused. These are highly suggestive-looking dog toys. They stick to the floor and the bristle bits are meant to help clean Fido's teeth while he chews.

"What do the lines do in the light?" — jtrudeau1530

Reddit | jtrudeau1530

Presumably, they mean the vertical lines seen across the front of the bulbs. Those are "fins" that block the light from being visible from the sides. They're common for intersections that aren't perfect ninety-degree angles.

"What is this big square thing in the middle of the room? I found it inside an abandoned Russian military base." — YoloFighter12345

Reddit | YoloFighter12345

That's a pretty neat find! It's a sand table, which are used for mission planning. They're more practical than a giant map table, because you can draw the exact location in the sand and wipe it away afterwards.

"Carpet covered piece of wood with handle." — BikerKorben

Reddit | BikerKorben

This is part of a kit for carpet installation that is used when carpet is being stretched by a power stretcher. It's covered in carpet of its own to protect walls and trim from possible damage.

"Installing a new radio in my car and found this... my car doesn’t have GPS." — Coltsfan1011

Reddit | Coltsfan1011

It's a tracker that was likely installed by the dealer. Depending on how shady they are, some used car dealers will use these to find the car if loan payments are missed. Other places will install them with the intention of up-selling people to some expensive anti-theft package. It may have never been turned on, but I'd take it out anyway.

"Got this thing for Christmas. The previous owner gave it to me, because he didn't knew what this is, neither do I..." — K00RGO

Reddit | K00RGO

It's an overly complicated trivet. The pieces can be shifted around to match whatever plate or pot you want to set on top, but I really don't see how that's better than a plain cork one.

"Dense seeds in this cactus-like gummy candy." — saluki_deluge

Reddit | saluki_deluge

It was found in an assorted fruit mix and is a candied prickly pear.

"This fell onto my roof this morning. Half banana for scale. Best guess is that it's an airplane antenna?" — tomnemila

Reddit | tomnemila

He's half right. It is an antenna, but not from a plane. It's just a regular home TV antenna. How it got on his roof is a mystery of its own.

As for the half of a banana, he says he's mildly allergic, so only eats half of one at a time.

"I found this on the hood of my trucks in a park parking lot. The pouches seem to be filled with herbs, it smells like potpourri." — Slab_Amberson

Reddit | Slab_Amberson

The person was parked at a Native American memorial, which makes finding prayer ties more understandable.

Usually, they are left in a place of importance, but perhaps someone was leaving them as a thank you to visitors.

"Found on the street. Looks like some kind of tool from ferrari. Any idea?" — GilReddit

Reddit | GilReddit

Hey, cool, a Ferrari part, right? Well, unfortunately, it's not the fabulously expensive supercar kind of Ferrari, but the Ikea cabinet parts-maker Ferrari. So this is just a cabinet hinge. Ah well.

"Found outside of my apartment complex?" — saluhday

Reddit | saluhday

To think, somebody had just left this cast iron sausage press beside the building's dumpster. Of course, even if you're not into sausage, I'm sure you can press many other things into a tube with this device.

"What are these? found in florida keys- juul for scale. Should i be worried my dog will snag one?" — ToastedGlass

Reddit | ToastedGlass

Being worried about your dog's well being with this thing is the right attitude — it's a Portuguese Man O'War, which can cause a might bad sting that stays with you for weeks.

"I was given this blanket(?) that has metal snaps on the long sides only. The snaps appear to have sheep on them. Any idea where it came from or what it’s suppose to be/do?" — jmorri20

Reddit | jmorri20

The uploader added that they had searched "on and off for a year with no luck," and that they didn't think it was from a sleeping bag. But that is on the right track — it's a garment that snaps together, kind of an ancestor of the Snuggie, the blanket you can wear.

"Found at the base of a hiking trail at a park. Three identical wooden poles, about mid-thigh height, each with a chain hanging down facing a central concrete circle. Absolutely no clue what this is." — tripping_nathan

Reddit | tripping_nathan

Under more ideal circumstances, those chains would be attached to a garbage receptacle as an extra precaution against large, hungry wildlife. In this case, the wildlife wanted it more.

"Does anyone know what this sign means? It's outside the door of my daughter's daycare." — umtoolate

Reddit | umtoolate

So they are clearly warning symbols. The one cut-off on the right appears to be for corrosive substances and the left one is for the vaguely threatening , yet generic "health hazard".

They are on the door or window of a daycare and not just on like, the cabinet of cleaning supplies, which is a bit weird.

"Seen in a Goodwill - what is this?" — severemascara7

Reddit | severemascara7

Ah yes, the classic random sighting at a thrift store. Well, the thimble-thumbed crowd of a certain vintage might recognize this — it's a sewing machine attachment for buttonholes.

This makes sense once you understand what you're looking at, but it's completely inscrutable if you don't.


As you might be able to tell from the picture, part of this device is lit up in yellow, while others aren't.

The reason is that we're actually looking at a "set theory clock" in Berlin that uses increments of fives and ones to tell time. The first row counts hours by five, while the second counts them by ones. The third and fourth rows follow the same pattern with minutes.

So, knowing that, we can see that this was taken at 11:41.

The eyepiece on this device makes it seem like a microscope, but that's only half of what it does.

Reddit | Willow795

Technically, this old device is actually a projection microscope that displays what you can see under it on a nearby wall to make it easier to draw.

This might not have normally been too hard to recognize, but it was a little weird to find it just lying around in the woods.

Reddit | AgoristGang

This is a hopper used for lifting mixed concrete with a crane, put it's hard to tell how it ended up here with no concrete around.

That's quite a thing to forget at the job site, but what else could have happened?

Depending on what kind of service you get where you live, these might not be such an uncommon sight.

Reddit | Myrimidon

But for those who don't know, it's a kind of antenna designed to spread 5G service throughout various urban areas without taking up much space.

While most people ask about things they found on Earth, one user's curiosity apparently extends out of this world.

Reddit | quavertail

They asked what these structures on the surface of Mars are that look like ball bearing, but are actually 100 meters (328.084) in diameter each.

Although it's hard to confirm this without sending a probe there, it's likely that these are mineral formations and that the shinier parts of them are ice containing a lot of carbon dioxide.

This guy likely just didn't get the idea to ride a train with a massive tray loaded with phones.

Reddit | BaneCow

Instead, he was likely hired by service providers to run tests on what kind of signal each of these phones could get and maintain in a busy train.

Better he finds connectivity issues than the customers, after all.

Considering what the uploader did understand about this card, it's no surprise that they would want to fill in the blanks.

Reddit | Kirsten-Thomas

As you've probably observed, it's a playing card in a series about dinosaurs.

The descriptions are written in Chinese and they refer to the dinosaur's classification breakdown, as well as its estimated height and weight.

This object was like this when the uploader found it in the dirt at their university.

Reddit | sandefurd

Unfortunately, it's likely that we're looking at the result of someone breaking open a paperweight out of desperation for money only to realize that the bills inside of it were fake.

The uploader described this piece as having rubber flaps beneath those teeth and a spring inside.

Reddit | KameNoKami91

And it turns out that those are both useful things for a a utility lock to have. Apparently, you'll end up using a lot of these if you install cable.

The uploader found these tubes on a crafts at the mall and couldn't figure out what they were.

Reddit | prismet

Apparently, each tube is a fabric turner used to turn sewn pieces inside out by running them through the tube a certain way.

"What is this wooden box that resembles a telephone? Bought in Corbridge, UK, seller didn’t know what it was." — StackBPoppin

Reddit | StackBPoppin

Somehow it didn't take long for the eagle eyes on Reddit to figure out that this old piece of wood with a handle is a tinder box, intended to hold the little things you need to get a fire going.

"Installed by a front door. House built in the '70s." — mc_mc_k

Reddit | mc_mc_k

It's a home security device that's supposed to drop into a hole in the floor and prevent a door from opening. Apparently, at some point during a home reno, that hole had been covered up.

"Found in an antique shop for $1, made of wood. Only writing on label is 'BX LT.'" — emma-witch

Reddit | emma-witch

It's obviously styled after those old nesting dolls, and once again, it's a thing for sewers. That spiral-like thing is actually a stack of bobbins, so each section would have thread wound around it for storage.

"I'm not even really sure where to start... Owned in family. Engineering related??" — cbwills

Reddit | cbwills

A few people were able to identify this other old cast iron thing as a mining lamp, specifically a carbide lamp. "No oil is used in it. It uses a reaction between calcium carbide and water to generate acetylene to burn," one person explained. Neat!

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