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Mystery Domestic Object


exchemist
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Does anyone have any idea what these are? I have a pair of them, made of brass (no jokes please!), about 1.5cm, 5/8" diameter.

4352AC78-C2D9-4335-A910-E782D2DFEEB7_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.e9a78a8971a71086da5d3c92a203e45e.jpeg

 

Each one comprises an upper and  a lower half, which screw together. They look as if they might function in rather the same way as a pair of cufflinks, but obviously they are not cufflinks (too heavy, too cumbersome to screw together on a shirt cuff.) I wondered if they were weights for holding down a tablecloth outside, but you'd need to make holes in the corners for the threaded part to pass through. So that seems unlikely. They came from my parents' house, so probably something used half a century or more ago.  

Edited by exchemist
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2 hours ago, exchemist said:

Does anyone have any idea what these are? I have a pair of them, made of brass (no jokes please!), about 1.5cm, 5/8" diameter.

4352AC78-C2D9-4335-A910-E782D2DFEEB7_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.e9a78a8971a71086da5d3c92a203e45e.jpeg

 

Each one comprises an upper and  a lower half, which screw together. They look as if they might function in rather the same way as a pair of cufflinks, but obviously they are not cufflinks (too heavy, too cumbersome to screw together on a shirt cuff.) I wondered if they were weights for holding down a tablecloth outside, but you'd need to make holes in the corners for the threaded part to pass through. So that seems unlikely. They came from my parents' house, so probably something used half a century or more ago.  

Please confirm that the bellshaped top will only screw onto the knurled bottom as shown in the left hand picture.

As shown it would be pretty useless as a drawer handle but if it would scew on the other way up it might be as iNow suggests.

 

Otherwise perhaps it is a pair of brass paperweights from a desk, perhaps originally made as an apprentices's 'Master' piece.

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A million things that they could be. They look similar but not the same as the brass fiittings which attach the leather straps to a vintage concertina. I have one that is about 130 years old, and the strap fittings look very similar to one half of these. So they could be qute old.

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5 hours ago, exchemist said:

Each one comprises an upper and  a lower half, which screw together. 

The top half looks like a bell, as studiot mentioned. Does the split there have a function, like allowing the top part of the bell to vibrate? Or perhaps a thread or wire could be passed through to secure one of the pair to another pair? Or is the seam/split purely decorative?

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3 hours ago, studiot said:

Please confirm that the bellshaped top will only screw onto the knurled bottom as shown in the left hand picture.

As shown it would be pretty useless as a drawer handle but if it would scew on the other way up it might be as iNow suggests.

 

Otherwise perhaps it is a pair of brass paperweights from a desk, perhaps originally made as an apprentices's 'Master' piece.

Yes the top screws onto the knurled bottom as shown. Too light for a paperweight - they only weigh 14g each. When the top is fully screwed home, the end of the threaded spindle protrudes through a hole in the top. You can see this in the left hand example.    

2 hours ago, Externet said:

When the items were well made a loooong ago; appear like ----> https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=antique paper binding screw

This just might be a possibility, though when fully screwed in the thickness of paper it would bind is only 3mm.

36 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

The top half looks like a bell, as studiot mentioned. Does the split there have a function, like allowing the top part of the bell to vibrate? Or perhaps a thread or wire could be passed through to secure one of the pair to another pair? Or is the seam/split purely decorative?

No, the split is just a groove running round the circumference. It seems to be decorative - unless it is for a missing O-ring, I suppose. Or indeed for a band to passed round both members of the pair, as you suggest.    

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6 minutes ago, TheVat said:

I think SJ is correct.   Looks like the locking nut for an old casement window.  

Hmm. Interesting possibility. Though not many casement windows in my parents' Victorian house. They were just about all sash windows- except in the kitchen, actually.....  

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Anything with an old blade hinge that extends a panel of some kind (antique keyboard instrument,  antique secretary desk that extends in some fashion,  etc) or even could be an adjustable weight used to adjust the balance arm on an old kitchen scale.  There are dozens of things that have sliding locking nuts, but I'm not enough of an antiquarian to pinpoint one.   What about a pendulum adjuster from an old clock?   

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1 hour ago, TheVat said:

Anything with an old blade hinge that extends a panel of some kind (antique keyboard instrument,  antique secretary desk that extends in some fashion,  etc) or even could be an adjustable weight used to adjust the balance arm on an old kitchen scale.  There are dozens of things that have sliding locking nuts, but I'm not enough of an antiquarian to pinpoint one.   What about a pendulum adjuster from an old clock?   

A bureau. I can just picture those securing the curved brass tracks having them on the drop leaf door.

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I bet reddit.com/r/Whatisthis/ or reddit.com/r/whatisthisthing/ would figure it out within an hour.

I figured it might be part of a tool, like a plane depth adjust, or a proportional divider knob.

The closest I've seen is on a horological tool, like in the top left:

p1130017.jpg

The knob slides and tightens to lock. A string might fit in the groove, and the part is used to set the tension on it. This one looks like it spins freely though.

Edited by md65536
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7 hours ago, md65536 said:

A string might fit in the groove, and the part is used to set the tension on it.

That's what I was thinking. It seems too small a part for any decorative grooving, so perhaps the groove is for a string or wire.

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My first thought was something to do with technical drawing - reminded me of parts from an antique compass or parallel rule, but brass parts were in all kinds of tools and instruments. I have a jar full of odd brass screws, including knurled knob types like shown (but without the other bit), with original purposes unknown. Perhaps paper binding (like externet mentioned) or for mounting worksheets on a drawing board. Just guessing - I have no idea.

Edited by Ken Fabian
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The knob is no problem. It's the female part that makes it mysterious. If it doesn't attach to something, it must clutch something or squeeze two things together. Very small things.... I like the string theory: you could tighten it to increase tension or immobilize the string. But then the little cufflink thingies are just hanging there.... Unless... that tiny slanted groove on the button part runs in a rail, pulled by the loop of string. Confounding!

(Oh, my @md65536  , that's a beautiful piece of machinery!)

 

Edited by Peterkin
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