Mystery Object

Mystery Solved!

What is this mystery object?

We asked you, our brilliant readers, to identify an object, unknown to us. As expected you all stepped up, big time in response. Here are some of the highlights, creative and otherwise, from the responses of our creative and diligent community.

Some Great Guesses

  • A door stop or a paper weight
  • Part of a kick drum pedal design
  • A heavy lid hinge
  • Door latch for an industrial style door
  • It isn't a thingamajig, it most certainly isn't what my Grandmother called a "Whatjamacallit" or a "doohickey"
  • It's a Stonehenge rock dolly. We have one too!
  • A fax machine
  • Copy machine paper tray
  • Robotic legs
  • A picker arm for an assembly line robot
  • A flattening device, like in a bread machine, or pasta roller
  • Some sort of pensioner/pick up pulley bar
  • A feeder, as in the first electric computers that fed the punch cards into the pin reader
  • A pressure roller that is used for a process that uses plastic wrap
  • It resembles the feed guide for a movie projector
  • A guide tensioner for projection film at the movies
  • An automated line transfer device, that takes a unit traveling in a vertical orientation on a conveyor and rotates it to a horizontal orientation on another conveyor, the top allows it to roll off after it tips back
  • Tip-Up Tail Tension/ Belt Guide for a conveyor belt system
  • A door/drawer closing strike for with an adjustable lock over for setting the holding tension the door/drawer in the closed position
The Answer
Fabian Magaloni took it a lot further and designed an entire machine around the mystery device

The very first response we received, and overwhelmingly the most common suggested function of our mystery device, is that it is a NASA toilet paper holder. One reader was kind enough to send a photo of the device loaded.

A few other interesting tidbits from the responses:


Guessed toilet paper holder 38%
Readers writing in with extremely well thought through, detailed answers 98%
Readers writing in named David 27%

As we got closer to the truth we received answers like, it looks like a tension spring/guide for a flat belt drive system of some sort.

We finally arrived at the truth as received in great detail from several readers along with pictures of similar devices in action.

This is a loader for a cassette of silicon wafers, used to gently pivot a full cassette of wafers onto an elevator. The adjustable dials would level the loader to the robot blade. The cylinder is simply a handle to raise/lower the unit to load/unload the cassette.

Toilet Paper Holder

These pictures are from a SVG litho track. They are adjustable to slow down the boat (bottom right) when loading and unloading the boat from a tool.

It's used in the semiconductor industry. It's an accessory for a wafer elevator platform. Normally, a boat of wafers is put onto the platform vertically. An operator needs to carefully place it, and align it in the guides. Wiggling could generate particles. In the vertical position, particles will land on the wafer surface. With this device, operator loads cassette horizontally into this device. Any particles generated will (hopefully) drop down and exit the cassette, aided by the laminar air flow in the clean-room.

The boat sits on the two arms. After putting a full cassette on the device, operator grabs onto the handle and rotates it up. The adjustable shocks allow it to gently place the boat onto the platform.

Thanks to everyone for helping us solve the mystery of our unknown component!