by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant
Thingamajigs often make for short posts because I don’t want to give too much away. This one will be an especially short post because, in all honesty, I have no idea what it is. (I guess that solves the “give too much away” problem, doesn’t it? I can’t give you what I don’t have.)
Today’s thingamajig comes from Manuscript Collection 135: Mann Realia, item 18.6.
We have a silver cylinder. The body of the device is five and a half inches long and about an inch in diameter. The small wheels on the ends screw in and out. There is some sort of twist-on attachment on one end.
The smaller attachment was in the envelope with the cylinder. It has a threaded end that apparently could have been screwed into something else. It’s not clear how the two are related, if they are related at all.
You can unscrew one end of the cylinder and pull it apart.
Inside is a perforated screen stuffed with . . . stuff. It looks like cotton wool or some other absorbent material.
This has a faint residual smell that might be burnt, or might just be old, it’s hard to tell which. The material looks as though it could be scorched but it could also simply be aged.
The perforated screen suggests that this was meant to hold something volatile. My first thought was that the stuffing could be soaked in something that was meant to be inhaled at a controlled rate.
I promise to spend next week researching this, but if you have any guesses, send them along!