Do you ever come across strange objects and wonder what they are or what they were used for? You’re not alone! The internet has become a hub for people to collectively solve these mysteries. One such platform is the subreddit called “What is This Thing?,” where millions of online users come together to decipher enigmatic objects. Today, we’ll explore 20 intriguing objects that have left people puzzled.

  1. Looks like ClayQuestion: My 3-year-old came home with a small rubber/silicone object from an extracurricular activity. It’s like a mini bouncy ball but doesn’t bounce. What is it?Answer: It’s an ’80s light bulb eraser! Though it doesn’t really erase anything, it’s a nostalgic remnant from the past.
  2. Curious BellQuestion: Outside a building in Bath, England, there are iron cones on both sides of the gate. What are they for?Answer: Those are snuffers! Visitors would use them to extinguish their torches when entering the house.
  3. Golden PigQuestion: What is this small golden pig container with a removable spoon for a tail?Answer: It’s a salt cellar, also known as a Salt Pig. It was used in the kitchen to easily access salt before the invention of shakers.
  4. An Ancient Household ObjectQuestion: I found this wooden object in my parents’ basement. It looks like a book holder. Any idea what it is?Answer: It’s an Italian (Florentine style) phone stand. It has a drawer for pens, paper, and a personal phone book. The top part served as a handle for easy transportation.
  5. Fancy BathSome products, like this fancy bath, have a “crackle” glaze that appears to be cracked on purpose. This effect is achieved when the glaze doesn’t match the clay body during firing. It adds a unique touch to the item.
  6. Cool Compass?Question: I found this doodad in a junk drawer. Any idea what it is?Answer: It’s a spout from a classic Sunbeam Mixmaster juicer attachment. The wire part held a little strainer to filter out pulp.
  7. Built-in Cigar Holders?Question: There’s a sliding tray with holes on both sides of this sofa. What’s it for?Answer: It’s a tray table with matching pegs. The tray sits tightly on top, and when not in use, you can slide the tray back and store the pegs.
  8. Styrofoam SecretsQuestion: What are those sets of seven dimples on styrofoam for?Answer: Unlike other plastic objects, expanded polystyrene objects (commonly known as “Styrofoam”) aren’t made by injecting liquid plastic into molds. Instead, plastic granules are treated with steam, causing them to expand into foam pellets. These pellets, with their seven-dot marks, are poured into molds and injected with more steam to fill every corner.
  9. DIY Insect RepellantQuestion: I saw a ziplock bag tacked above a door with water and pennies. What’s the purpose?Answer: It’s a homemade mosquito and fly deterrent. The reflection of light off the water and pennies is believed to scare off those pesky bugs.

So, the next time you stumble upon a mysterious object, remember that there’s an entire online community waiting to help solve the puzzle. Embrace the enigma and let the collective intelligence of the internet guide you through the secrets of everyday objects!