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! The tools we use have changed and we do fewer and fewer household jobs by hand. We used to do all the laundry in a wash tub, drill every hole with a hand-operated crank drill, and a million other small tasks by hand. It’s one of the things we love about going to antique stores and flea markets: getting to see all those old tools and objects that we grew up with! If you’re like us then you pride yourself on knowing what things were used for back in the day. Test your knowledge of all things old and see if you can answer the question: What is it?

Image taken at Henry’s Antiques

1) This brass box has a handle on the top and an adjustable vent on the front.

If you guessed that it’s a foot warmer then you are correct. The small size and handle suggest portability and this would have been used to warm the feet of riders in a carriage. Even early cars needed to have some kind of heat source since heaters weren’t common in automobiles until the 1930s. It wasn’t until 1933 that the first in-dash heater was built by the Ford Motor Company.

Are you ready for the next challenge?

Image taken at Henry’s Antiques

2) This piece consists of fabric stretched and tacked down on a wooden frame with an ornate design.

If you guessed it was a fireplace screen you are right! We don’t see them used much anymore, but way-back-when these were quite the thing to protect women’s cheeks from the harsh heat of a beastly fire. If you thought that one was too easy, then try the next one!

Image taken at Antiques at Pike Place

3) Next up we have a very beat up, aqua blue metal container with a spout on one side.

Your mom may or may not have used one of these. It’s a powdered detergent dispenser from before all our boxes had spouts built in. This perhaps explains why it’s so danged beat up!

Image taken at Antiques at Pike Place

4) Ceramic and conical, this piece has a screw base similar to a light bulb and has many small metal coils around its outside.

If you guessed heating “bulb” you’ve got it! A cool (or should we say “hot”) vintage item, this heating element uses the metal coils to distribute heat once it’s screwed in.

Image taken at Henry’s Antiques

5) This one is brass with a lidded compartment, a small brush, and a spout. Betcha can’t guess!

If you thought it was a Chinese tobacco pipe then you are spot on! The compartment is for storing the tobacco and it would often came with tweezers or tampers as well for easy loading. The bowl is behind the brush on this one.

Image taken at Antiques at Pike Place

6) These are stepped-down in size along the length of each object. They have metal caps on the ends as well, with a slot at the top of the larger end.

If you thought they were industrial textile spools then you are ahead of the pack! Used to hold the thread that textiles were made from, I’ve heard it said that the shape means that they can be changed out easily for other colors.

Via/ Library of Congress