Sunday, August 07, 2016

A Thrilling Game of "What the Heck is This?"

At some point in our lives together, Robb and I realized that we shared the decorating sensibilities of ninety-year-old retired college professors. As a way of indulging our eccentric tastes, we go to a lot of estate sales.  It's fascinating to be given access to strangers' homes, and to get a glimpse of the objects they accumulated over their lives. 

Sometimes this is inspiring. Sometimes it's a bit sad. And occasionally, it's rather puzzling. 

This weekend, we brought home this mysterious object.  It seems to be made of an early form of plastic

Inside the body of this object, there's a metal mechanism. If the end of the mechanism is unscrewed, it can function as a plunger, depressing the "needle" within the barrel of the "pen."  The end of the "needle" never protrudes from the end of the "pen," but there is an aperture at the pointy end of the "pen."

The entire object is rather smaller and thicker than a typical early 20th Century fountain pen. 

Can you identify this item?  Do you know what the heck it is?


Anonymous said...

Early mechanical pencil?

Zippi Kit said...

It looks like a spring loaded center punch, used to mark metal for punching. These are actually still made and used by machinists- but that one is a beauty.

Zippi Kit said...

This is the page I found for you to see what you have and how it's used.

Sandy said...

Believe it's a PrestoOiler. Used to get into small areas on typewriters or other mechanical objects and allow controlled application of oil.

A M Jenner said...

I'm guessing that at one time when it was "sharp" the end of the "needle" would protrude from the tip of the "pen" when the plunger was depressed, and that it was used for making marks on metal during manufacturing processes.

I bet Kirbert would know.


Andrea Palma said...

I'm going with the oiling thing, too. Because the little metal stopper seems like what is at the end of a syringe. So it is for applying something. My other guess would have been an early form of ink pen.. like you would sick up some ink, then write with it.


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