What is this thing?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Oxford on April 7, 2010 - 10:59pm

I found this thing in the REO house I bought in San Marcos last September. It was in a drawer in the kitchen and I saved it thinking it belonged to something. It probably does but the hell if I know what it is.

Then it hit me...this is a job for the high powered intellect, type A-personalities of the PIGGS Brain Trust.

Shot with a tennis ball for scale, it is made of steel I think and the center wires are flexible.

So have at it. The first to identify it wins an Eddie The Egret coffee mug, t-shirt, mouse pad and lunch at eBar -- ohh wait, wrong bird.


...birdbrain with unidentified thing.

Submitted by LuckyInOC on April 8, 2010 - 2:54am.

How about a bed spring for a pet ferret?

You could try 'Ask this old house'.

How old is your house? 1920's,1930's,1940's
It looks like is was made about then...

Would you believe (in your best Maxwell Smart voice):

A toast rack for a large old toaster oven?
- or -
A filter retainer for small furnace?

This reminds me of a game show called 'Liar's Club'. Four celebrity panelist would give their story of what was some object. Only one was correct and the contestant had to choose which one. Larry Hovis (Hogan's Heroes) was one of the regular panelist. The show played on a local channel in LA. I don't know if SD had it also.


Submitted by Hobie on April 8, 2010 - 5:34am.

Bet its a broiling rack for steaks in the oven.

Before gas grills were the norm BBQing involved the 'Patiomaster' and charcoal. Job for the guys, not the wife. And everyone ate meat ;)

So this thing allows the broiler to seer and caramelize with flame and not let the meat sit in its juice like a roast. The two protrusions were probably for a wooden handle and would be placed in a special pan to collect drippings.

(I'm craving steak and eggs for breakfast now.)

Submitted by svelte on April 8, 2010 - 5:53am.

Texas fly swatter (even the flies are big in Texas)

Submitted by jpinpb on April 8, 2010 - 5:55pm.

My guess is some kind of heating element.

Submitted by CafeMoto on April 8, 2010 - 6:53pm.

six penguins, one that likes tennis

Submitted by CDMA ENG on April 8, 2010 - 10:11pm.


It something that my mom would beat me with if I was misbehaving!


Submitted by sdrealtor on April 8, 2010 - 11:12pm.

I loved the Liar's Club and it was on back east too.

I'll play. It's an Egret Repellent device.

Submitted by Hatfield on April 8, 2010 - 11:43pm.

Oh, I loved the Liars Club when I was a kid.

OK, I'll bite. It's not a heating element. To me it looks like some sort of crazy oven rack or grill, but I don't know why all the wirework would be so convoluted.

Submitted by jpinpb on April 9, 2010 - 8:39am.

New device replacing tin foil hat?
Old gadget used to communicate w/extra-terrestials?
Special tool to beat bad realtors and delusional homeowners? (and inattentive drivers)

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on April 9, 2010 - 9:06am.

I think its an attachment for Marvin the Martian's Universal Discombobulator.

Submitted by NotCranky on April 9, 2010 - 10:22am.

It's a pre-historic theta-obrazom.

Submitted by patb on April 9, 2010 - 11:09am.

the elements are spring metal, but the rings keep them from rotating.

Maybe a rack for cooling bread on?

Submitted by Eugene on April 9, 2010 - 11:42am.

This thing looks vaguely familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I agree with Hatfield: the wiring is too convoluted to make sense. I have a feeling that it could be the skeleton of an air filter, with the actual filtering fabric removed.

What are the dimensions? Based on the first picture, I estimate 10.5" x 15.5", is that correct? Are there any traces of soot on the surface? Any markings or labels?

Submitted by bearishgurl on April 9, 2010 - 2:57pm.

Research Gaffers & Sattler old wall units or forced-air furnaces at the library or maybe online. I seem to have seen something like this in a Golden Hill house back in the nineties. It appears to be attached to the bottom of whatever it's supposed to be attached to by prongs - don't know which direction they are facing but would guess up or down.

Was the furnace replaced in your house prior to your purchase??

Submitted by Eugene on April 9, 2010 - 3:05pm.

His house was built in 2003, I think.

Submitted by bearishgurl on April 9, 2010 - 3:05pm.

Hobie wrote:
Bet its a broiling rack for steaks in the oven.

This is a good guess, too. Again, Gaffers and Sattler stoves from the '30s and '40s were 40"-48" wide with a large pancake griddle in the middle of the gas burners. This could have been a grill to place in that opening when the griddle pan was removed.

Or a grate to place on top of the broiler in the drawer beneath the lower right oven. Just light the pilot and hear your steak sizzle!

Still don't get the diagonal metal rings on it though!!

Submitted by mike92104 on April 9, 2010 - 9:26pm.

I think it's a screen for an old furnace.

Submitted by weberlin on April 9, 2010 - 11:32pm.

Could be an old radiating heat element.

Submitted by Oxford on April 9, 2010 - 11:41pm.

Here is what my red neck archery buddies think about it.


...looks good in green tights

Submitted by moneymaker on April 10, 2010 - 1:51am.

I would say it's a bed warmer, but what do I know since I was born and raised in the southwest.

Submitted by CBad on April 10, 2010 - 8:26pm.

Showed it to my husband and he said it's a spring for the back of a chair.

Submitted by NotCranky on April 10, 2010 - 8:39pm.

CBad wrote:
Showed it to my husband and he said it's a spring for the back of a chair.

I like filter frame, but your husband's input is also very possible .

Someone on the archery blog said it was an electrical element of some sort...for an oven I think.
Looks like a short circuit to me. Could have some special metals or compounds in the field wire, with some resistance in them but it doesn't look like it. If it does maybe it could be an element from a lighthouse bulb or some other big bulb.

Submitted by LuckyInOC on April 10, 2010 - 9:32pm.

Can't be an electrical heating element. No isolators between the wire and frame. No separation between 'terminals' (nobs at the ends). It would be a dead short. Could be some type of conductive (thru the metal) heating element or rack.

Lucky In OC

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 12, 2010 - 11:06am.

Liar's club was only cool because you found out the answer at the end. This is just annoying. OK, but I love it.

Very unlikely a heating element, but not because it is a short circuit. That's what heating elements are - a short circuit. The piece of metal between the two posts, though, would not be there if the rest of the heating element was to have current running through it. Those don't look like electric connectors and the springy thingies would be welded to the frame all around, not allowed to move

Some kind of oven rack is also a decent theory, but why not just weld it solid, then

The designer designed spring and flex into the item. I can't come up with anything other than a part of a chair.

Did you scour it for any numbers or anything ?

Submitted by svelte on April 12, 2010 - 11:44am.

sdduuuude wrote:

Very unlikely a heating element...


The designer designed spring and flex into the item...

Same conclusions I've come to.

That flex is there for a reason, and a heating element wouldn't need it.

I think the two posts are just to attach this thing to something....not for heat, not for electricity, just to secure it.

It appears to me to be designed to "catch" something as it approaches or rests on it...not sure if that would be in a horizontal or vertical orientation.

I've done a few Google searches and came up empty handed. Will still devote a few brain cycles to it here and there, but I'm starting to get frustrated.

Sure looks like the frame to a seat back or seat bottom once all the batting and fabric has been removed.

Submitted by NotCranky on April 12, 2010 - 4:45pm.

The main problem I have with the chair back idea is that It looks like the springs don't have much resistance against the person in the photos hand. It also doesn't look very big.

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 12, 2010 - 4:56pm.

If it were a chair spring, then padding and covering would increase the size quite a bit in all dimensions.

Does seem small to me, also, honestly.
Was found in a kitchen drawer, though. Wierd.

Submitted by RichardJamesEsquire on April 12, 2010 - 5:21pm.

def not electric heat. I see how it resembles electric heat strips, but is not.
Probably came out of some appliance though, maybe a stove.
Don't think it a air filter rack but that's just an opinion.
Keep going back to an antenna of some kind, why I'm not sure.

Do the 2 holes in the end go all the way though?

Submitted by sdduuuude on April 12, 2010 - 5:23pm.

I think this is a situation where only people who don't have internet access would know exactly what this thing is.

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 12, 2010 - 6:14pm.

The prior homeowner was a construction worker and I beleive he drove a back hoe. Perhaps it was some sort of removable padded backrest for his backhoe.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.