20 Times Someone Asked 'What Is This Thing?' And Someone Actually Answered

As human beings, we can't know everything. There's simply too much to know, including things we'd never even think to know. Things like the ones found in this list, for example.

But it's all good, because the people who asked what these things are actually got answers. It just goes to show you that everyone has things they know a lot about.

"What is this glass encased machine that spits out long rolls of paper Gomez has from The Addams Family?"

According to some very helpful Reddit comments, it's called a stock ticker. It would print the stock prices of a certain item as it changed. I really don't see this being useful in today's age, but it's still kind of cool.

"What is this weird net of cables and weights on the building?"

Reddit user anthonynil had the answer: "It's a wire trellis system for a living wall. The weights at the bottom keep the wires taut."

So, it allows plants to live along the wall of the building. That's pretty neat, and sounds like it would be a super cool idea.

"What are these holes in the ground for? They are in the entryway to the Roman amphitheater in Pompeii."

There were multiple similar yet slightly different answers for this. The Reddit comments seemed to agree that the holes were for posts, but they could've either been for tents and stalls, fences, or some kind of pathway. The ancient world sure was strange.

"What are these chips? Plastic chips in round dishes stacked in 2 plastic 'jars' - 2.5 inch high."

Well, they have to be from some kind of board game. But which one?

Well, no one actually knows, but it's got to be something from Europe. Thanks to Redditor gn_like_lasagna, we at least know the chips and bins are German in origin.

"A rusty metal ball in the middle of an Icelandic peninsula."

A few Reddit users chimed in on this one, and called it an old sea mine. That just so happens to be the right answer, too! What it's doing on land? My guess is it's probably a decoration these days.

"It’s made of wood, seems to be hollow, and was found in Pennsylvania. Any idea of how old it is? I can’t find ANYTHING online under Sauitoy or Sauitoy NYC, but I might be reading it wrong."

Thanks to a bunch of Reddit detectives, OP figured it out. It actually says Sanitoy, or rather SaniToy, and it's a toy baseball bat, probably dating back to the 1950s.

"Metal buckle (?) with leather loop attached to it. Metal piece is about 1.5” high."

Well, Reddit user ponytail1961 figured it out pretty quickly. It's "part of a vintage pool cue tip repair tool." Very specific, but since OP found it among their grandfather's things (who owned a pool table), it makes a lot of sense, actually.

"What is this helmet? Logging? Fire fighting?"

To be honest, whatever kind of hat it ends up being, it doesn't look all that comfortable.

But in this case, it is, in fact, an old firefighting helmet. At least, that's what Reddit user sdorph says, and we really have no reason to believe that's untrue.

"Found this Korean patch (the text translates to squad leader) in my issued gear at a training event. Any idea of what conflict or unit this may have come from?"

This is, apparently, from the ROK (Republic of Korea) Marines. Not really sure how OP got their hands on it, but it seems like it would be a pretty interesting keepsake regardless.

"What is this material underneath my 1930/40s home 2nd story bathroom? Looks/feels like sand? If it is, why is it there? Water absorption?"

So, a metal thing with sand underneath found behind a bathroom wall? That's kind of strange.

According to Reddit user PKDickman, it's actually not that strange: "It is expanded steel lath and the mortar bed they laid your master bath floor tile on." Interesting.

"What is this heavy, steel item we found left in the kitchen of the home we just bought?"

Apparently, this is a frequently asked thing. So plenty of people have come across it before, and wondered the same thing this person has.

Redditor shockzone answered this question 4 years ago: "It's the Quick Chill Tray from a GE refrigerator." Easy enough.

"Short handle with sharp hook - 16” total length. Found in a home in eastern MA. No markings or numbers of any kind on it."

So, according to Reddit user brock_lee, it's a gaff for fishing. You literally hook fish that are swimming right next to your boat. That's actually so cool, and not really what I'd expect the right answer to be.

"Old lab glassware- various long thin pieces."

These long pieces of glass look so delicate, just staring at them is stressing me out.

But they were actually used for lab work. annywhack on Reddit had this to say: "One on the left is a thistle funnel, or thistle tube. One on the far right is a fractionating column."

As for the one in the middle? According to Redditor markatango, it's a gas drying tube.

"Old rusted grill or smoker type device."

According to Reddit user reflected_shadow, this thing is some kind of candy stove. I definitely would never have thought of that just by looking at it, but some things out there really are unexpected. Either way, it's another mystery solved.

"What is this thing I saw in an ancient Roman house in Ercolano, Italy? The city is very close to a volcano. Could it be related?"

Apparently, this device is for measuring humidity levels inside the building. Since it's from ancient Roman times, that would make sense. Moisture could ruin the...ruins more.

So it's actually not related to the volcano that the city is so close to. Still interesting, though.

"Long flexible rod with a hook on the end. About 18 ft long."

It looks like some kind of weird fishing rod. But you know it isn't that.

In fact, Redditor jackrats had a better answer: "The rod looks like a fiber glass wire pulling rod. Used to pull wires through walls. Someone seems to have taped a hook on the end. I guess they lost the hook that the rods come with which simply screws onto the end." And that's it!

"Mysterious vial with amber fluid found inside grocery store. Small as a pill?"

There were a lot of different answers that could explain what this thing is. But it looks like the most likely (and popular) one is that it's some kind of sprinkler bulb. I'd say that's as good as we're going to get.

"What is this small, metal tool with equally sized prongs, but different (even only) numbers?"

Thescubadave on Reddit identified these pointy gold things as gold testing strips, which are used to compare the color of any other thing made out of gold. I'm sure someone somewhere would find this thing useful, but it also kind of looks cool.

"Found in my Chipotle. It's hard, impossible to chew, and is the size of a blueberry."

In my experience, random foreign objects you find in food are never a good thing (even if they aren't always a bad thing).

In this case, though, it's the top stem part of an avocado. Nothing gross, but nothing super edible either.

"This Plastic Annulus below the window on my flight. There is a ridge dividing the two halves in the inner circle."

I don't go on a lot of planes, so I'd have no clue. Thankfully, there are people who know these things (who aren't me).

According to MrMarkusino on Reddit, "It's to make windows go dark. Bottom half darker. Upper half brighter. Also crew can change whole flight settings so you might not be able to change it." Makes sense.

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