Monday, September 06, 2010

Hint: It's Not a Paperclip

I'm afraid this is not nearly as interesting as the engine test stand vehicle, but it's a thing I found that was initially a mystery for me. It was in my pocket at the end of the day, so I took a picture of it for you. Some of you will know what it is right away and may even have used one, and I ask those people as usual to abstain from the game. I'm always on the lookout for something that will test everyone, but collectively you're so smart that it's tricky.

So aside from a thoroughly filthy laptop keyboard (included in the picture for scale, not style) what do you see here?

As usual, silly answers are as welcome as genuine guesses.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lollipop stick!

UnwiseOwl said...

I've picked these up off the ground in the past, but I have no idea what they're for. Like anything I put in pockets they eventually gravitate towards being put in my mouth, though. It's a problem.

Because I just can't resist quizzes: I think it's a crazy type of temporary plug-in hinge.

dpierce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dpierce said...

A re-read and saw your caveat and decided to remove my answer. :-P

charlieray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryen said...

very small hoseclamp?

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

We use these in the auto industry too.

There are at least 3 versions of this device, and all bust your knuckles in various ways. One version requires a screwdriver in its use. Invariably, it is turned in such a way as to require a specialty small screwdriver, and you can't get enough leverage to use.

Another version, with a Dutch or German name (?) is a use once version, and requires destruction of the device to remove.

And your version is spring loaded in such a way that the removal or installation of the device causes it to snap against your fingers in the most painful way imaginable.

I think they were originally invented by the Marquis de Sade.

Devil in the Drain said...

Remember the aquatic aliens you're working for? They put one of those in at the back of my skull.

Anoynmous said...

Here's a picture. Don't click on the link (or even hover over it) if you want to keep playing.

X-av8r said...

This is a cheap factory hose clamp. These require a special pair of pliers and can be brutal without it. Any mechanic worth his salt will refuse to reuse them and instead install one that can be tightened with a screwdriver. That's probably why you're finding them lying around.

grant said...

I need a 5/8" version for use as a safety lock on my oil pan quick drain valve... think I can find one? Of course not...

Garrett said...

I'm always amused at how much hate this genre of clamp gets. I think it stems from folks with an insufficient collection of pliers. I'd really rather reach for the 24 inch right angle pliers to pull one of these out of a tight spot than try and get a screwdriver to similar dreadful locations.

Plus, I appreciate that properly chosen, they never need to be retightened and I've never seen one fail, two things that cannot be said about most worm clamp applications. Worm claps have moving parts and fail in various ways as a result, some quite often. Also their typically high stiffness is exactly the opposite of what is needed on a relatively soft hose that expands, contracts, and creeps over time.

Michael5000 said...

Other possibilities: Half of one of those little puzzles where the goal is to link or unlink the two little twisty pieces of metal. Or, a spring sorta dealie for something that needs to default to open at about a 25 degree angle. Or, piece rejected as defective at the ankh factory.

Echojuliet said...

Is this still in the Alaska series? If so, I would venture to guess its the new "grunge" trend emerging in the rural Alaska region: Antler piercings. This is actually the alternative style clip on, as hunters get very aggravated when their trophy moose rack is tarnished with a real piercing.

Chris said...

I don't post on here at all even though I love the post to the point of looking forward to it when I get up before work. It looks like the common tension clamp used on hoses and such. We had some on hydraulic lines on the CH-47 Chinook I crewed in the Army. Final Answer.

D.B. said...

It is either an adornment used by Alaskan male snowmobile racers, or more prosaically, a hose clamp. Did you happen to notice if either engine was overheating?

Geekzilla said...

It's a paperclip!

Sarah said...

I was going to say that too, Geekzilla! A very good guess, and no doubt why there are so many posts "removed by the author". ;)

Just to have some variety in the responses, I'll make my 2nd & least likely guess: Teeny curtain rod fixtures for the privacy curtains in the cabin.

Bob said...

If it's NOT a paperclip ... (and since hose clamp is taken) how about a key ring?
[CAPTCHA thinks it's a "protee"]

Anonymous said...

Its a type of hardware I've cursed at several times!

Mikey said...

It looks like a smaller version of those hand grip strengtheners you can get.
So maybe this is one you get with the Barbie and Ken gym set?

Anonymous said...

Echojuliet: reindeer use those to attach the little jingly-bells when they get a Father Christmas job. You wouldn't fix the bells permanently as they're really annoying when you're grazing and can attract wolves.
I expect your "caribou" do the same.

D.B. said...

Rethought my earlier comment. This is "Hoser", the new assistant for the next generation of MS Windows (Canadian edition). Replaces "Clippy", thanks to the outcry generated by users of this site.

gmc said...

Displaying this mystery unit on a computer keyboard is not coincidental. It is a hint and probably this is the key piece in an old DOS (anyone remember that!?) based computer. It's obviously not a microprocessor so it probably is the part that was responsible for the CTL-ALT-DELETE function and would manually reset the computer chips with brute force. A sort of knuckle-duster in the silicone world. In an emergency, it could also be used to 'boot' the computer - whatever that means.

Marty said...

Hey, Avvy, do you actually know the answer?? I assumed you would tell us if anyone guessed correctly?

Aviatrix said...

It's at the end of today's post (September 8th). I typically answer such things a couple of days later. But your answers were way better.

Yzzawizzle said...

Hose clamp.