Mystery Object 447: Confusing Coils

Amazing workmanship.

Size: Large Duffle Bag

Recorded: October, 2016

Found: Timberline Lodge, Oregon, United States

Circa:  Current

Made: Oregon, United States

Material: Wrought Iron

Status: Known

The Timberline is an amazing lodge hotel in Oregon. It’s famous for serving as the outside of the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

One of my favorite things about the place is that they have an historical curator on staff. The same person has had the job for over thirty years, and she’s set up a few places where artifacts are on display. This is one.

It was used once, but is no more. It’s the largest version of this technology I’ve ever seen, with most being about the size of an envelope.

They were once common, but when the 20th century came in, these went out. Except at Timberline, where they were still useful, at least for a time.

There are several of these on display, and if you look closely you can see little faces carved into it. But that’s just design—its function is told by its shape.

It could be used by anyone, but it was primarily meant for guests rather than staff.

Hint 1:


Has nothing to do with fire.


Hint 2: 


Useful in winter and summer, but for slightly different things.




It’s a boot scraper, used in summer for mud and winter for snow. Pavement and a shift in focus has put most of them in retirement at Timberline. They were very common (and you can still find them) older cities, where they were traditionally placed outside to either side of the door. Horses make a mess, you see… Another thing leading to their demise is that soles are no longer flat, making them less effective. Timberline prides itself in having everything made on site by artisans, including these.


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  Click for larger images

A rather lowly thing to have on display.

This is the back.

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  1. If it’s a boot scraper that would be the same in summe or winter. Plus it says it went out when the 20 century came in. I’m pretty sure people were still getting their boots muddy after 1900.

    Maybe something to do with horses, or carriages?

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