Alethea Drexler, archives assistant.
This week’s Thingmajig is part of our collection of items donated at some uncertain time, by an unknown donor, without any documentation. Once again: We don’t know what this is. We know that it’s related to the dental profession, but that’s about it.
It’s very heavy for its size (it’s only about seven inches tall) and, if you look down through the top, it has an interior fixture of some sort that we think must be a heating element. There is a dial on the side with number settings, presumably for temperature.
It has one lovely green glass bottle insert remaining. We assume it once had another bottle, and possibly two (one each for the center and opposite slots). The bottles were not interchangeable–this bottle only fits in one of the holes.
There is no visible water source in the machine itself, but we believe the bottle once must have had either a small hose attachment or a rubber bulb to propel whatever was in the bottle down the sprayer, using either water or air.
The cord that comes out of the underside is very short and the plug is unusual, even for one this old (we think this is from the 1940’s or 1950’s)–the metal ends are small, cylindrical, and quite short. It doesn’t look like it was meant to plug into a wall socket, but it might have been meant to plug into another device that would serve as a power source. The cord is not retractable.