Monday, April 19, 2010

Mystery Objects, No. 1.

All this pottering around in my lair pawing through amazing objects has given me two good ideas.

Number one: Below, I'm posting the first in a series of wonderfully mysterious objects - these are objects that have excited and baffled me. In fact, there's one below that I still know nothing about (maybe someone will illuminate me!). I am not saying what these are, but would love you to post, in order of appearance, what you believe them to be. I will include approximate sizes (Also, the first object is shown from three sides; the rest have single images). Click on them to view each one large.

I've shown the first two objects in past workshops to illustrate a discussion about mystery and identity, so some of you know what they are - don't post what they are if you're one of those people!

My next posting, next week, will disclose the answers, so you can check how you did.

Number two: Here's an OPEN CALL to all you collectors of bits and bobs out there. Email me images of your most mysterious object/s (email to keith AT lobue-art DOT com) with the subject heading MYSTERY OBJECTS. I will post selected ones to the blog and the guessing game will continue.

The person who emails me the most amazing and mysterious object will receive a FREE COPY of my new DVD 'Oneirocritica: The Found-Object Sculpture of Keith Lo Bue' upon completion. I'll be judging purely by the object, so no favorites will be played.

Good luck and happy fossicking (non-Australians, look that one up).

And now without further ado, I give you the first parade of mystery...

#1: Approx. 3 1/2" (9cm) tall

#2: Approx. 8" x 7" (20.5 x 18cm)

#3: Approx. 7" (18cm) wide

#4: Approx. 10" x 4" (25.5 x 10cm)

#5: Approx. 5" (13cm) wide

#6: Approx. 3" x 2" (8 x 5cm)

#7: Approx. 3.5" x 3" (9 x 8cm)

Let the games begin. And taking images from you now...



  1. Keith, I love this game!
    I'll give them a stab.

    #1 - Ray hide Baby Rattle - Egyptian in origin
    #2 - Whale Baleen from a corset - Italy 16th C.
    #3 - Unused gasket from a 1919 Model T
    #4 - Sleigh from a child's winter toy
    #5 - Something from the Bat Man lair
    #6 - Brake Pedal from a 1940 Packard
    #7 - Lost motel key from the Bates Motel

    Thanks that was fun!

  2. Wow... those were some specific guesses.

    I only have a guess about number 6. I think it's a gas pedal rather than a brake pedal.

  3. 1. dessicated rubber teething rattle which may have been through a fire.
    2. garden marker.
    3. paper automotive gasket or gasket pattern.
    4. glass plate negative holder. I know that doesn't make sense, but my brain insists!
    5. radiator clamp
    6. clutch pedal 1940-1970
    7. croquet marker or garden marker.

    Fun! Thanks for the game, Keith.

  4. Wow the Cerulean Gypsy’s guesses were amazing! This is like being scheduled to give a speech following Martin Luther King. : )

    1) Thought this was a rattle also but not for a child and not Egyptian.I envision this being used in a tribal ceremony.

    2) In looking at the angle and the measurements it seems, even for Victorian times, too severe of an angle for a whale bone corset stay. And I don’t think they used staples to make them either. Without seeing it in person I will work on the assumption that it is bone. The fabric remnant looks to be Asian and so my guess is it was used to style a bun in a Geisha hairstyle. Second guess would be it was part of a kimono.
    3) Yeah a gasket. I’d never be able to be as specific as Cerulean Gypsy though.
    4) Part of a larger industrial era machine or tool. The open section appears to have been used to as a straight line cam mechanism due to the wear patterns. Perhaps even part of a large Scotch yoke or some such thing.
    5) I envision this flipped around and extending out over a wheel on a large industrial machine like a lathe as a safety guard.
    6) Definitely a vehicle pedal. Due to the light wear pattern and the obvious age, I’m guessing something like a parking brake pedal since any other pedal would be much more worn down. Or possibly the vehicle could have been in an accident when it wasn’t too old.
    7) Since it appears only the bottom was handled (the top has built up grunge) and that it looks to be plastic, I’ll say it was used to keep score in some sort of pub game and was gripped by the bottom and moved along a rod or tube. Also the little shelf that is chipped was probably added to keep them spaced apart to make it easier to grip (rather than being right up against each other)

    OK I’ll be on the lookout for the oddest of things I have and will send pics. This was ever so fun. Thanks Keith!!

  5. Oh I'm changing my guess for #7. I'll say it is from a dry cleaner's. : )

  6. Ok lets give it a try:
    #1 looks like some type of seed pod
    #2 Some part of fright packaging for shipping
    #3 Looks to be a gasket but also appears to be brass kinda hard for it to be brass optometrists something or other
    #4 Looks like part of an old easel
    #5 Looks to be a part from a old photo album the locking mechanism
    #6 has to be a clutch pad from a peddle
    #7 Would say a cattle tag but looks like porcelain possibly something for electrical work

  7. Man, this is good fun - keep it up folks - a few have hit the nail on the head for some of the objects, but half of them are still unidentified...

  8. 1: Babies teether or rattle
    2: If the tube is hollow it is probably some sort of capillary device to drain fluid through.
    3: The end plate from a pair of binoculars.
    4: Quilter, Tapestry or Weaver frame.
    5: ???
    6: Rubber bicycle pedal cover.
    7: Porcelain key or ID tag, label.

    Love a mystery, keep that grey matter working ;)

  9. I'm only getting a sense of a few of these items. The well is quite dry this evening.

    #1 A deflated squeaky toy.
    #3 A partial engine gasket, from a two cylinder engine. Probably an exhaust gasket. Motorcycle?
    #6 A parking brake pedal
    #7 A public pool claim number

    Thanks much, Mr. LB.

  10. 1. Dog's old raw hide bone.
    2. Devil's claw with specimen tag
    3. Stencil
    4. Old plant press
    5. ?
    6. Brake or gas pedal
    7. Ironstone lab bottle tag

  11. Okay Keith Here goes
    1.WEll use battle rattle or teething ring
    2.bra wire
    3 a gasket
    4.Tennis racket cover
    5.Part of a macine (very opened answer)
    6.Truck clutch /brake pedal
    7.Cow ear tag

  12. Here goes;
    #1 deteriorating celluloid or rubber baby rattle. Color yet to be determined.
    #2 Part of a Japanese Basket, circa. 1940-1960
    #3 A photographers tool to use in the developing film process...somehow.
    #4 A hand made paper gasket.
    #5 Part of a music stand
    #6 The rubber pad from a car pedal
    #7 This one is easy. A white plastic tab with the number 41 on it.

  13. 1 squished drawer pull
    2 leftover from a pinata
    3 interior part of a car dashboard, radio or speedometer
    4 stereoscope part
    5 inside part of a car radiator
    6 car emergency brake pedal
    7 marble tag for a coat check

  14. First, I would like to go on record as saying you (Keith) have an unfair advantage in trying to name these things since you have several other senses to work with. (For example, you KNOW one is metal and another is bakelite, etc - you also have olfactory and sound - so, until you have better descriptions of these items I feel this is tremendously unfair.

    Even with the huge advantage you have given yourself, I will play your game jerky.

    1. It looks like rawhide wrapped around cork. (See, even now you have the olfactory advantage!) Whatever its purpose, it looks to be well worn, like it was a spacer, a lift, a shim of some sort.

    2. a weather stick, ( or, a small piece of reed or flexible bone used by the Romans to purge food and go back to eating again.

    3. Is this cardboard? It could be a gasket, but the text does not fit that - I think it has something to do with optics - some sort of eye glass template.

    4. part of a loom circa 1700s-1800s

    5. You are purposely trying to trick us by only giving one view. It looks like this item might have hinged from the top. There are two tabs on each side. You are withholding information!

    6. Emergency Brake Pedal cover from a 1974 Ford truck F100-400 series p/n 4570067a

    7. Looks like it is plastic or ivory. Well worn. It is either a coat room tag or an animal ear tag.

    OK, so now that you have gotten a bunch of us to give you all these ideas - how about being forthcoming with more photos and descriptions of materials here, eh?

  15. OK, I hope that last comment is all in good fun - after all, this whole thing is meant to be an interesting, but not overly serious, exercise. May I remind you all that there is no 'prize' for guessing these...the DVD prize will be awarded to the best objects sent to my email address. I'm impressed that so many of you are barking up the right tree on several of these!

  16. Cheryl Tempest BurtonApril 22, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    O.K., If you insist....
    1. Dried up testicles. (probably a "fail" on that one)
    2. A tool used to discretely peek under the lady's skirts.
    3. Homemade robot glasses.
    4. Some sort of torture device.
    5. Another torture device, only this one is worse.
    6. Baby teether.
    7. A really old "Take a Number" tag for when you had to stand in those horrible long lines to see the fat lady at the carnival.

    I hope this helps, Keith. I'm sure that I have cleared up lots of questions for you.

  17. #1 Petrified bubblegum
    #2 Labeled giant bug antenna
    #3 Gasket for something
    #4 Rug beater
    #5 Vintage heating vent cover
    #6 Mini hand piano
    #7 Carlos Santana's 41st guitar pick

  18. Of course it is all in good fun - I just want to go on record as saying you got the upper hand, you know what I am sayin' here?

  19. Okay, I've been lurking a long time on this site; but this entry demands my participation. Here goes...
    #1. We'll have to come back to number one, as it's even invaded my dreams!...
    #2. First I saw a corset stay or something exotic with Arabic writing on the tag... But now I'm thinking just a piece of coated wire with the old sales tag attached.
    #3. Face part of cardboard "glasses." Once had earpieces and, perhaps, red cellophane to look through? Or even 3-D vision?
    #4. I see an antique jig with a track for sliding--a tool jig? a camera bellows holder?
    #5. It looks like a rusted piece of my old marching band music holder! Ugh! I think it's some kind of holder/attachment for something that swivels on that nicely polished metal peg. Maybe it holds the tool that slides in the aforementioned jig?!
    #6. Yes, it seems to be a pedal, but I see leather?? Foot switch for an older tool or sewing machine? Perhaps just a simple doorstop?
    #7. I agree with most everyone... Sliding plastic queue number from a market or bowling alley? Your number's up, Mister 41...
    NOW, back to #1. Oh, heavens, this will put me on the Crazy list for sure.
    I saw a rawhide and rope chew toy first; but what's that stitching on the back and those plastic-like pieces showing? Then I thought of a leather-wrapped, double-button sweater guard or closure. Sure, it could be a nasty, melted celluloid rattle; but what's that sawdust-like stuff that resembles a clump of roasted, shredded coconut? I told you this was torturing me. SO.....I must have dreamed of it last night, because this morning I see it all too clearly...
    It's some kind of souvenir Something (book weight? toy?) wrapped in reptile skin! Yes, on the top, upper end (the one without the "coconut"), I see holes for eyes and tympanic "ear" covers... Maybe the plastic stuff is shell? Bone? 'Heckuva mind bender, Keith!
    I will wait patiently until the answers are revealed but will stop drinking wine after dinner until then. Now I'm off to search my workbench area for the jar marked "Mystery Tchotchkes." Look that one, you Australians!
    Thanks for the fun--from the Crazy Lurker

  20. #1 Kind of looks like an aged and weathered chew toy.
    #2 Absolutely no idea. Can't even guess what it's made of!
    #3 Template for some machine part? Or cardboard packaging piece?
    #4 4" wide, with a slot for sliding along something...hmm. So did it slide up-and-down or in-and-out? If the latter we must be looking at the bottom. Arg! Stumped.
    #5 Are we looking at the inside of it? It must be some kind of flap or door, with those 2 holes up at the top sides
    #6 It sure looks like a pedal, but 3"x2" is tiny! Maybe from a toy car?
    #7 Hotel key tag? (It's bigger than the pedal!) The lettering looks vaguely 1930s.

    Can't wait to see the answers!

  21. Just some observations...
    The screw on the bottom of #5 is not in the middle.
    Why does #4 have so many screws and rivets.. must need to be strong.
    Why would #2 have paper stapled to something long enough for the staples to rust?
    The hole on #7 must be about 1" across.
    #1 has a definite 'seam' on it, indicating metal to me. Yellow and blue, would a rattle be painted??... multiple paint layers? Scalloped pattern where the middle meets the ends.
    Just something to think about :)

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