Mystery Object 386: Pipe Problem

Size: A Big Bent Yam

Note the brass and the lack of an opening?

Note the brass and the lack of an opening?

Recorded: March 2016

Found: New Hampshire, United States

Circa: Current

Made: Syracuse, New York

Material: Black Pipe, Brass

Status: Known

Thanks to Kitty Mervine for submitting this object!

Behold, a thing of beauty. It’s clearly meant to screw onto some heavy, black pipe. You know, the kind used for sprinkler systems and home heating oil tanks. But… there’s brass. And some fiddly bits. And no obvious opening?

It turns out that this is a wonderful invention that is still essential today. While you probably won’t have one in your home, there are many industries where such a thing is needed, and you’d be very happy to have this.

Hint 1: 


It has many names, but one is related to a Boston disaster.


Hint 2:


There are springs in there.




It’s called a “molasses valve” or “gate valve.” It allows you to precisely control how much of a thick liquid will come out of a large container like a barrel or vat. Some models use springs to self close. The brass has an oval cut to allow smooth flow with no splashing. Somehow. The Boston hint related to the great molasses flood. NOTE: I ran across one in use!


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Stand back! I have... a thing.

Stand back! I have… a thing.

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