Science Museum seeks public help to identify mystery objects

Anyone got any ideas?

Half those things are sex toys.

A couple of them look like fermentation locks, especially the second picture. The steel cylinders are probably reloadable shotgun shells, and there’s a picture of a pedal operated jig saw table, which any fool should be able to recognize. :thinking:

Isn’t one just a scroll saw?

The second and last picture are crack pipes.

That’s a fine-looking antique cat-extractor!

For extracting antique cats?

I assume the experts at one of the world’s foremost museums wouldn’t have been stumped by these if it was so easy. But I wish they provided more details…

…although perhaps not, because in response to their Tweets there are plenty of people providing good evidence of similar jigsaw tables.

My dad had one just like the top piece of the second picture. His was just a little novelty toy kind of thing that was partially filled with some green liquid enough to almost fill the bottom bulb as it sat in a holder. But when you picked it up by the bulb, the heat from your hands would make the liquid expand and raise up through the spiral and start to fill to top bub as well.

I think he got it in Asia during the Vietnam war.

I recognize that!

You are describing a hand boiler, also called a love tester. They are a very common toy, especially in drinking bird form. (And…not a bad guess? Both look like they might have a tip broken, allowing the alcohol to drain.)

And here are near-identical ones still being sold under their German name “pulshammer.” These museum guys just suck.

If you are brave/adventurous enough, so are the other half.

Yes. I thought of that later. I really don’t know the difference between a scroll saw and a table mount jig saw. The type of blade perhaps? Anyway, on consideration, I believe you may be more correct than I am.

Here is a picture of reloadable shotgun shells made of brass, so I could be right about that.

Just as the Science Museum did. The caption reads:

The museum is looking for stories of how tools such as this example of a jigsaw were used

Scroll down and there is a second picture of the scroll saw with this statement, “The museum is looking for stories of how tools SUCH AS THIS EXAMPLE OF A JIGSAW were used.” So the curators know what that item is. Poor choice to put it with a collection of “unknowns”.

The one item with a wood handle looks like a primitive melon-baller or ice-cream server. It might be used with a steel ball to stretch leather and make a tight shoe more comfortable.
Otherwise, the workmanship looks like a primitive surgical instrument – but I don’t even want to think how it could be used in surgery.

The copper-alloy hammer is intriguing. It could have been used in a munitions plant where a steel hammer might make a spark (but that doesn’t consider the purpose of the angled head). Maybe a primitive meat tenderizer. Whack that tough steak with the blunt end of the hammer or turn the hammer up and whack that steak with the pointed end to make “Salisbury steak”.

The Smithsonian in Washington had a similar collection of “what is it” items.

Oops, ninja’d.

Further down the page they do identify it as a jigsaw:

They identify them as Geissler tubes, so they know what these devices are; they are just indicating that it is hard to tell when and where they were made.