Mystery Object 398: OK!

Size: Loaf of Bread

The handle. Pull it and... what happens?

The handle. Pull it and… what happens?

Recorded: February 2016

Found: New Hampshire, United States

Circa: 1900s

Made: United States

Material: Steel

Status: Known

You have done what this does, and you may even own a device that it’s in the same classification as thing, but you’ve likely never one like this.

It was used to accomplish a simple, common task in an industrial manner. While they’re less needed today thanks to the Internet, modern, electrified versions are still used by power companies and televangelists.

There’s a slight risk of injuring yourself while using this, but it’s probably a lesser risk than what normally take to accomplish the same task at home. And some of you do that every single day!

Thanks to Kitty Mervine for submitting this item!

Hint 1:

Spoiler

There’s a knife in there.

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Hint 2: 

Spoiler

It’s such a simple thing, you may never have considered that someone would need a machine for it.

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Answer:

Spoiler

It’s a letter opener. While it might seem silly to have such a heavy mechanism for such a simple task, it’s valuable for companies that receive a lot of mail, especially mail containing checks. Letters could be opened quickly and uniformly. It probably reduced paper cuts as well. Today’s models are completely automatic and take a stack of mail, open it, and send it to where it needs to go with no human intervention.

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Do you have a mystery object you’d like to share? Whether you know what it is or not, we’d like to hear from you! Drop us a line at jeff@collegeofcuriosity.com.

  Click for larger images

Darn it, someone blurred out the name.

Darn it, someone blurred out the name.

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