by Alethea Drexler

Archives assistant

In the spirit of vintage Thingamajig, we present to you . . . something.

Dr. Arnett's Mystery Device

This was given to the Research Center by Dr. Frank C. Arnett (it even has his name engraved on it).  It’s about seven inches long and made of metal (probably stainless steel), with a black rubber tip.  It’s jointed twice so it can be opened up like a jackknife:

The mystery device, opened

The middle section is not a blade–it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick and does not have a beveled or tapered edge.

Someone suggested to us that it might be a goniometer, which, in a medical context, is used to measure range of motion in joints.  However, as Dr. Arnett pointed out, a goniometer would have measurements on it, and this doesn’t have any measurements.  The rubber tip suggested to HRC archivist Phil Montgomery that it might have been used to test reflexes.

It has a maker’s mark of “Soningen, Germany”  and an Abbott Laboratories logo, so it might have been a promotional item.  Dr. Arnett tells us that he’s not sure what it is, either, which is a pity because it’s very nicely made and quite substantial.  We just don’t know what it is.

Posted in Thingamajig
One comment on “Thingamajig
  1. Marie Brannon says:

    Well, I think it’s a fancy maulstick for the professor to use in demonstrations of something-or-other. Assuming it unfolds and becomes a rubber-tipped stainless steel stick, that is.

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