Another Mystery Object


Here is an interesting thing that we picked up recently— and we realized that almost no one recognizes it.  We’ll give you a few hints, but can you figure out what it is, and what it is for?


The object consists of three solid metal rods with raised bands around them, hinged such that that they can smoothly move with respect to one another, and that each of the rods can be turned freely.


In fact, you can fold it all the way over onto itself.


And here is a size reference, it fits nicely in your palm.

So, what is it?  Please leave your educated guesses in the comments!

Update: Yes, it’s a wire straightening tool— read more about it here.

28 thoughts on “Another Mystery Object

  1. Can it be linked to more of them to make a loop?

    It looks like a couple links from a triple wide ‘bicycle’ chain.

  2. Yeah, it looks like a short section of “Roller Chain”, though the design is unusual. I’m thinking it’s needed for some kind of constant pressure, like under a conveyor belt or something similar. Of course, I’ve been wrong before. :)

  3. I certainly don’t recognize it, though I highly doubt it’s part of a chain because there is no way to attach more links. The rings are arranged in such a way that if the device were rolled along a surface, there would be 11 evenly spaced tracks. If it were 12, I would have though something to do with punch cards…maybe to roll along a freshly punched card to pop out any hanging chads. However, the rollers could still go *between* the punched holes and help pop the chads out somehow.

    Or maybe it’s just something to put grooves in pasta.

  4. Looks like some kind of roll forming dies for making corrugated metal sheets.
    Not sure what the narrow corrugated sheet it produces would be used for.

  5. It looks more like a part of a rolling band for industrial purposes (moving packages and parts from one part to another)

  6. When I was younger my granddad gave me a box of ‘things’ from his garage and there was one of these things in there. I wish I could remember what it was because he did tell me at the time…… dangit, I knew I should have paid more attention as a kid.

    1. “Now I wish I listened to what mom used to say.”
      “What did mom used to say?”
      “I dunno, I didn’t listen”

  7. It’s used to straighten out kinked wire (usually braided). I’ve only seen them in bait and tackle shops that cater to off-shore fishermen who often use wire leaders.

  8. Is it a strap lock? There might not be enough space inside, and the fact that it folds is disturbing.

    The inside of a pulley? Still don’t see why it should fold. And why it is asymmetric.

    Why is there no way to attach the thing to a bigger machine? Could you use it like a unidirectionnal magic slider to move furniture? To give a massage?

  9. I think it is for making corrugated strips. Like mentioned before by 9dof, but would have to be a much thinner material like shim stock, foil or paper.

    What would I do with such corrugated material? I’m thinking it’s used for making the weatherstripping around doors and windows. The old style that was stapled on one side, and sprung out on the other.

  10. I don’t think that’s part of a longer chain. Just look at the axis of the end-segments. No place to add an additional segment. They are just too short to hold an additional set of links.

    And look for the ‘strange’ alignment and the design of the segments. Not like a normal chain would look like. This is designed to come in three segments. There are two different segment types. Nothing I assume to see on a normal chain.

    Also strange, nothing obvious to mount the piece onto something bigger.

    But I don’t have a clue what it is…

  11. This is a Du-Bro Wire Straightener made for fishing leaders, I have used it very much.

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