Mystery Object 201: Stainless Star

Size: A pint of beer Recorded: October, 2014 Found: Redacted Circa:  Current Made: United States Material: Steel alloy Status: Known       For scale, you could easily hold this as you would a beer glass. The pictures make it a bit difficult to see, but it does taper. The bottom diameter is about ½ of the top diameter. There […]

Mystery Object 200: Rusty Rod

Size: Ruler Recorded: May, 2014 Found: Bar Harbor, Maine, USA Circa:  Late 1800’s Made: West Africa (Sierra Leone) Material: Iron Status: Known     For our 200th mystery object, we’ve got something special. This item was used up until the late 1800’s, though it was still used in the 1940’s and even the 1980s in some regions. According to tradition,  it has […]

Mystery Object 199: Kurious Keyboard

Size: Vending Machine Recorded: September, 2014 Found: Colorado Circa:  1920’s Made: United States Material: Brass, wood, steel Status: Known   Thanks to Hal Bidlack for submitting this item! The basic ID of this item isn’t too difficult, but there’s something unusual about it. It has a keyboard, but also accepted piano rolls. It’s special because it’s adapted to changes in the […]

Mystery Object 198: Wire Weirdness

Size: Tennis Racket Recorded: October, 2014 Found: Southern New Hampshire Circa:  1960’s? Made: United States? Material: Some type of metal Status: Solved by reader         Thanks to Kitty for the submission! I expect this to be solved pretty quickly. You see these things on telephone pole wires fairly often, at least in the Northeastern United States. […]

Mystery Object 197: Sneaky Shell

Size: Baseball Recorded: October, 2014 Found: Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Lahaina, Hawaii Circa:  1960’s (but of ancient lineage) Made: Lahaina, Maui Material: Cowry Shell, grass, nail, other natural items Status: Known Bit of an odd story here. This shell was found in a trench underneath an old theater. It’s a cowry shell, a valued find at any time, but not terribly rare. […]

Mystery Object 196: Confusing Cans

Size: Salt Shaker Recorded: October, 2014 Found: Australia Circa:  1940’s Made: Japan Material: Aluminum? Status: Unknown   Orphia Nay of JREF Forum fame has asked for our help. Can you answer the mystery of what these canisters were for? These were owned by her grandfather who was stationed with an Australian military unit in post-war Japan. The buttons are just […]

Mystery Object 195: Table Tendrils

Size: Pony tail Recorded: October, 2014 Found: HM Bark Endeavour, (Replica) Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Circa:  1750’s Made: England Material: Sisal Status: Known     This replica of Captain Cook’s ship had a number of oddities, but when I asked the docent what these unraveled bits of rope were for the answer was both surprising and obvious at the same time. The […]

Mystery Object 194: Vampire Vessel

Size: Keg of beer Recorded: October, 2014 Found: HMAS Vampire, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia Circa:  1950’s Made: Australia(?) Material: Galvanized steel Status: Known     This item was on an outside deck of the HMAS Vampire, a post-WWII Daring class destroyer of the Australian Navy. Though an essential part of the ship’s operations, it was not used for any directly […]

Mystery Object 193: Fantasy Fan

Size: Desk Fan Recorded: October, 2014 Found: Canada Circa:  Current Made: Unknown Material: Aluminum, primarily Status: Known          Thanks to David Green for submitting this item! Yes, yes, it’s a fan. Or is it? You can see a fan blade, but you can’t see a plug or battery pack—because there aren’t any. There are many other devices that […]

Mystery Object 192: One-Wheeled Wonder

Size: Man’s Shoe Recorded: September, 2014 Found: City Museum, St. Louis, Missouri Circa:  1880’s Made: USA Material: Cast and wrought iron Status: Known   These devices are still common today, though this one has quite a bit of history associated with it. It was designed to be used many times a day. Only one wheel was necessary to make the mechanism […]