"What are these straps for on this semi’s wheels?"
A: "Those are indicators for the driver to be able to tell if his wheels are spinning. Driving an 18 wheeled beast it can sometimes be difficult to “feel” if a wheel has seized, so this is a quick visual indicator."
"What are these plastic-coated steel bolts/nails? Removed from two different flat tires six months apart while driving in Toronto. They’re sharp and the ends appear to have been cut with bolt cutters."
A: "They are cut trailer seals."
"What is this on the outside of the front of houses? A whole neighborhood had these (AZ)"
A: "It’s just for decoration. It’s created with an extra piece of styrofoam that is then stuccoed over. Most new homes offer 3-4 elevation options for each home. It’s supposed to create some design diversity using non-functional elements like this."
"Metal ornament possibly bought in Tunisia or Egypt. Appears to show a person holding a severed head. Kept in a garden for many years"
A: "It is a Byzantine cross candle holder."
"Wooden ladle-type tool with a spindle in the cup part."
A: "It’s a rice mold."
"Two iron(?) balls pulled out of a river in the UK. They are solid and magnetic. The larger one retains its casting seam."
A: "Balls for a ball mill. The one that shows the casting you can see where they sliced the sprue off."
"Found in an attic in South Wales. Stairs are metal, top platform is wooden."
A: "It’s either a plant holder or part of a dollhouse."
"This rope I perhaps shouldn’t be pulling out of my garden drainage pipe. (I though there might be something hidden on the end before I got concerned and stopped)"
A: "That is a conduit, not a drainage pipe. The string was there so that someone could pull wire through it at a future time."
"Hi everyone. Can anyone tell me what the mirror underneath the lid of the My trashcan is for? Thanks guys!"
A: "It’s a holder for a carbon odour filter."
"Unusual small silver box with wing on chain inside"
A: "It’s a purse hook. You hang it off of the table so your purse doesn’t touch the floor. The company that made this one is called Arbon and it’s from mid century."
"Tubes along the river right next to a water inlet and/or outlet, are they for measuring water level or something?"
A: "It’s the stem that rises and lowers as the gate goes up and down. They work like a screw with a handle or motor operator. These appear to be fully open. I worked in water/waste water 20 yrs."
"Leather thing that has a strap that wraps around the back of your hand"
A: "Blackjack. It’s a kind of self defense tool. Check local laws about carrying it around though."
"Spotted in a jungle trail about 6 ft tall"
A: "Probably left over from some type of music festival"
"Found deep inside of a recliner, it’s made of glass. Green part is plastic."
A: "That is a plastic maple sap spile. Used to tap trees and collect sap to make syrup. The green is plastic hose. Modern sap collection uses these cheaper plastic taps and connects to a series tubing runs to a central sap collection point. Much more efficient and cheaper equipment than collecting each bucket."
"What is this sort of little trays holder? It has a handle, it’s all made of metal (to resist temperature?), and the three detachable trays have an “8” shape and two round holes each."
A: "They are bagel trays from a bread making machine."
"Silver cylinder on the end of my new pocket level?"
A: "To be used as a stud finder!"
"My wife found this small rubber item near our door. Marked Stanley."
A: "It’s part of the weather stripping at the bottom hinge side of your door."
"Strange lead shape found when metal detecting in a yard. About 3 inches long. Did someone pour molten lead down an ant hill?"
A: "Possibly. Or, back in the day some people would burn their trash rather than take it down to the dump. I’ve found similar formations in my back yard fire pit after aluminum horse shoes were left in some feed bags."
"What are These Triangular Solar Panel Devices in a Texas Marsh?"
A: "Circulators. Basically solar powered fans that circulate and aerate the water."
"Odd circular metal object found in an unopened box of a Dove soap bar."
A: "It looks like a pretty beat up Peruvian Escudo"
"What does the circled word say (on?) And what are you supposed to put on the lines after it?"
A: "Looks like an M. For Mr, Mrs, or Ms"
“Cones I found in a German supermarket — what are they for?”
A: “It’s a so-called ’schultüte.’ When children have their first day of school, they get it filled by their parents with gifts and sweets.”
“This rack-type drawer is mounted in a kitchen cabinet. This is as far as it pulls out and the bars do not rotate or come out.”
A: “It’s a hanging rack, but they’re typically sold as a towel hanging rack. There are vertical versions for narrow spaces, but they are designed a little differently.”
“A gray device with a cord on it — I thought it was a game camera of some sort, but I don’t think it is. Found at a park!”
A: “It’s a camera to check wildlife numbers and interactions.”
“What are these odd pliers?”
A: “They’re piston ring installation pliers (a piston ring is a part of an internal combustion engine).”
“A ball attached to pool cue — why?”
A: “It’s so little kids can play and not destroy the table (like by ripping the felt with the cue).”
“This is on the ceiling in a hotel. There’s a smoke detector in the same room. It’s completely smooth on all sides besides the gray thing in the middle.”
A: “It’s a motion sensor. It detects if someone is moving in the room. It’s usually used for automatic lights or for an alarm.”
“What is this Commodore 64 accessory? It looks like cardboard with a separate clear plastic overlay.”
A: “It’s a flowchart stencil by the look of it.”
“What are these dollar signs on my level for?”
A: “That is an electrician level. An ‘S’ with a line through it is the electricians’ symbol for a switch.”
“The hole gets smaller when I squeeze it. Found it in the kitchen at my parents’ house. What do I use it for?”
A: “It’s to strip corn on the cob.”
“Got this as a prize in a Christmas cracker with no instructions. What is it?”
A: “It’s a needle threader.”
“This is some sort of promotional item. What’s it used for?”
A: “It’s a finger/hand acupressure massager.”
“This solid metal thing was in our bag of candy cane kisses. Is it part of the machinery?”
A: "This is a metal dummy version they intentionally place in randomly selected bags to test and validate their automated QC systems. Their metal detecting system must be faulty if they let this slip through, which means there may be other foreign objects out there in the same batch."
“This small object hanging from a power line crossing the county road by our house — what is this?”
A: “Looks like an old overhead fault indicator.”
“A green plastic scissor handle with metal loops and plastic teeth. No identifying marks...”
A: “It’s for trimming thyme.”
“This roofed storage component full of sliced logs in the middle of a prairie preserve in Nebraska”
A: “It’s a bug hotel and provides a habitat for a range of species.”
“I went to a restaurant to enjoy a nice breakfast, then they gave me this thing. It spins like a propeller.”
A: “It’s an anti-fly machine.”
“This is in our front yard in Philly. We didn’t want to touch it so we flipped it over with a stick.”
A: “It looks like stuffing from antique upholstery.”
“Stainless steel, about the size of a tea spoon, no additional markings”
A: “It’s a mint sauce ladle. You can remove excess vinegar through the strainer.”