Test your knowledge of all things old and see if you can answer the question: what is it?
These old objects look interesting, but do you know what they are? The items we consider normal or everyday have changed so much over the years. Some of these would have been ordinary 100 or even 50 years ago! Tasks that take only a moment today would have required specialized tools and some major elbow grease back in the day! From clean clothes to small home improvement jobs to old-fashioned manufacturing processes, there are so many cool old objects that you just don’t that often anymore. That’s one reason why we love going to antique malls and flea markets: we get to see so many cool things that we grew up with. Take a step back in time for a moment and test your knowledge of all things old. See if you can answer the burning question: What is it?
1) This wooden box has a compartment with a hole in the lid aside a zinc tray. Underneath are two tiny drawers.
What is it?
If you thought this is pipe smoking station then you are quite correct. The box-like station uses the zinc tray for ashes while the tiny drawers and top compartment are for storing tobacco. This oak beauty is such a relic! Not only is pipe-smoking a niche activity compared to 50 years ago, those who still smoke often don’t have anything as well-made as this to use. The smoke shops don’t even sell them anymore and if they did they would not be made from oak and zinc! Very few things are this well-made anymore. This is one of the many old items that we won’t see ever made again. Long gone are the days of dad smoking a pipe after dinner or while reading the newspaper.
See if you can get the next one right!
2) This round wooden tool is split down the middle with a spindle in the middle and has two pieces of leather attached with tacks.
What is it?
If you guessed it was a hat band stretcher you are right! This tool helped to expand hats that were too small in the band. Once upon a time, fashion dictated that most people wore hats every single day. It only makes sense that you would want an absolutely perfect fit for such a staple of your wardrobe. It seems a shame sometimes that we don’t dress up like we used to! When a hat tip meant something and ladies wore the most beautiful creations on their heads, a tool like this would have been extremely useful for a milliner or a shop owner. Of course people still wear hats, but personalized hat shops are a rarity these days. There was a time when you could get a hat made, and then adjusted, especially for you. Most folks today just buy hats off the rack! Times really have changed since then.
3) Cylindrical in shape, this object has has a cork at the top and is made from pottery. It looks rustic, but it’s purpose is quite civilized.
What is it?
The long winter nights can be quite cold without central air! This foot warmer would have been filled with hot or boiling water and provided much needed relief from the cold. Nobody wants to catch the chilblains! Back when homes were heated with fireplaces and wood-burning or coal-burning stoves, anytime you left the comfort of the fire, you entered a cold and insufferable part of the house. Foot warmers like these made people a bit warmer on the coldest of nights. This is perhaps one of the things we don’t miss from the good old days. Of course, in our time it was hot water bottles which are a lot less clunky than this piece! It sure is lovely these days to have warm heat and cool air whenever we feel like.
See if you remember this next mystery item.
4) Mint green enamel with a wire handle, this piece has the name of a fuel supplier stenciled on it.
What is it?
If you guessed dust pan you hit the nail on the head! A gorgeous example of promotional merchandise, this metal triangular dust pan has a longer handle for less stooping. Remember when dust pans were always made of metal? They didn’t crack and could last for literally decades. They really don’t make tools like they used to! How often to do we have to buy a new one these days? Even this dust pan, which was merely a promo item, is better-made than most of the dust pans you could buy today in stores. It’s so funny which items make you a little bit homesick for a different time. We also love the fun mint green color, which would have gone well in a kitchen filled with Jadeite dishes!
See if you know what this next item was used for!
5) Heart-shaped center made from heavy twisted wire with a turned wooden handle.
What is it?
If you thought it was a rug beater then you are spot on! This household item used to be common in every home and was used to literally beat the dust and dirt from all the carpets in the house. Vacuums weren’t in every household until relatively recently, so you may have used one of these to keep the rugs looking their best. There was something about not only the beaten rug, but hanging it to air out, that made them seem so much fresher when they were brought back in the house. This is another of those old tasks where elbow grease was the main ingredient to be able to get the job done. It was tiring, but it’s just how we did things back then.
See if you can guess the item! We bet you’ve never seen one before in your life!
6) This contraption stands about 12” high, is made from metal, and has a handle. There are tiny disks of brightly colored glass set within the rotary mechanisms on the front.
What is it?
This was a hard one, but if you thought it was a tool for measuring eyesight then you’ve really got brains (or else you just really know your railroad history)! Created for measuring the eyesight of would-be railroad employees, this testing device ensures any new hires (and any old hands!) in your railroad company can see the color signals down the line and make the appropriate track changes. Just imagine if this device hadn’t been invented! The safety of cargo and passengers would have been at risk since the testing would have been a poor comparison to the real thing without this device. It’s a fairly complex mechanism and it’s so nice to see such a unique piece still intact. It’s a wonder that all the glass disks are still in place. And, we love the spindle and wire handle!
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How many did you get correct? Let us know in the comments below. We hope you guessed them all and if you didn’t we hope you still had some fun guessing!