What's a Whatzit? It's something from the past, an article that was once in common use but now so rare that many people have never seen one. They're things like roller skate keys and candlestick telephones, stuff that people find in attics and have to ask "What's it from? What's it for? What's it do?" That's a whatzit. Periodically we will feature photos of interesting whatzits submitted by our members, so get digging in the attic and see what you can find. We'll post the answers to previous whatzits along with the best guesses and as much information as we can provide about the items.
Send your Whatzit answers to , with "Whatzit" in the subject line.
Here's our newest Whatzit! A hint for you is that it was found in many homes and was part of home industry. This comes to us through the Mansfield (CT) Historical Society who has it on loan from the Windham Textile & History Museum. That's a huge hint!
This Whatzit was submitted by member Dianne Bordeaux Lenti. To scroll through the photos, hold your cursor over the images.
Guesses? If you said it was a New England pie lifter for removing pies from the oven, you are correct! Did you get it? A number of these were patented in the post Civil War era and there are similar ones with 1880s patent dates. This particular one is adjustable. By the way, it is NOT recommended for use these days! Thank you Dianne for the photos!