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What is it? Game 67: Rocket Thingy

This week's collaboration with What is it? blog brings us this strange rocket-shaped device. Do you know what it is for? For more clues and larger picture, check out the What is it? blog.

No prize this week - you're playing for fun and bragging rights only! Have fun! (I can't wait to see Randall's guess!)

Update 6/21/08 - The answer is: A self-contained ship's log, it records the distance traveled as it's pulled behind a ship. Congratulations to Zack who got it first!

I'm pretty sure I know what it is, although I don't know the actual English name for it, as English nautical terms is not my forte. In Swedish it's called a "logg" and the English word could well be something similar, since we have imported many English nautical terms into Swedish. Anyhow, the device is (or was) used to measure distance travelled in the day of the sailing ships. The device was tied to a rope and dropped over the side for a pre-determined length of time. Distance was then read off using the dials on the side of the thing. Using time and distance travelled the speed of the ship could the be calculated.
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Knot meter. Drop it behind a moving ship and leave it for a certain period of time then haul it back in. It will tell you how far you've traveled by how many times it spins. You can then calculate your speed.
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Sasha S is right, knot meter with a nifty little analog display of the number of revolutions. They're still in use as a back up, or reliable lower cost alternative, in these days of GPS and fancy satelllite navigation.
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It is a Taff rail log used to measure distance and speed on a ship. It is tied to the stern of a ship, usually sailing, and spins to measure distance.
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Could be one of those toy rockets. used like flicking a rubber band you stick your thumb in the ring on the top and pull back the rocket with the opposite hand. Dials could be meters for height, velocity etc.... hmmm
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It's a personal pleasure device for the ladies. The dials measure thrust, pressure and tensile strength. You really don't want to know why there's a loop on the end.
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I'm sorry to disappoint you, guys, but it is actually a well maker's depth meter. Before I retired, I used to help construct wells for families in rural areas. Since the depth of water wells vary depending on the source of the water below the earth, well makers need devices such as this to determine when to stop drilling. Once the well maker has drilled a hole of approximate depth (based on several calculations involving soil composition, soil water mass, and distance from a detectible natural reservoir) he or she lowers the depth meter into the well (by attaching the loop to a cable) until it reaches the bottom. If the bottom of the well contains water, one of the readings on the depth meter would indicate so (this is an older model, so the center dial would turn to the right). Newer models have electronic LCD screens. The other two dials would indicate the depth of the well (as indicated by the name) and the water salinity. If the underground aquifer is surrounded by saline alluvial soil, the water salinity knob (far right knob) would indicate so. The bottom projections simply detect surrounding obstructions. i own a slightly newer version of this device, which is almost identical, but contains LCD screens rather than dials. This specific model is pretty old, so the only way to see one is to go to a museum. Who know you could learn so much on Neatorama!
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A 1928 German timed rocket. Dogfight, shoot your enemy with the rocket, abandon combat. The enemy goes back to his base, and that's when the clock device sets up the explosion, bringing mayhem to the groung crew as well.
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it is the rocket that Galileo and and Da Vinci used to fly to the moon. Twice. They would have romantic candle-light dinners, sip wine, watch re-runs of Will and Grace, before measuring the depth of a well and how far they traveled on the Moon-Ocean. It's a hard life being a genius, so they found a place where they could be themselves and share their love.
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rotational fins and the biody rotates fre from the mooring ring at the top.

soem sort of water flow gague?

Either from a stationarry position or on a boat?
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I always rush to the botom of the list without reading and post if I think I know what it is.

The read at my ease how wrong I was.

Neatorama fan, I can not fro th life of me work out how your well diggers thingy would work?

If it reached water at the bottom, then what would hapen?

It wopuldn't rotate in static water, and if you pulled it out, that would only record how fast you pulled the rope, nothing else.

The thing rotates and makes the dials rotate, that can only record speed surely?

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they used to use a simple plank with a piece of rope at it, and then count how many knots pas trough your hand in specified amout of time. Thats why naval speeds are expressed in Knots. This is a more modern way of doing it.
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It is a harpoon ships log for measuring distance when trailed behind the boat. The 'dials' are covered in use by a sliding cover that rotates around the cylindrical shape.

As the log is pulled through the water it rotates on the eye fixed to the cable and rotations measure distance.

I have an identical one. It is made of bronze. (One fin of mine was replaced in use with a copper one)

Mine is a Walker Patent Harpoon Ships Log A2. London. The distance is measured in 'miles' in tens, ones and quarters on the respective dials on a white enamelled backplate.
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Just a comment that it is not a taffrail log as my understanding of that is that the meter is mounted on the taffrail and the rotations travel to that to measure distance travelled. The rotor is very similar but shorter than the one illustrated as there is no mechanism inside it.

With a harpoon log the rotations are transmitted to the 'meter' in the log itself.

I am not sure how one could usefully use it in a well
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Its a Clockwork Cremelmosher used for brewing beer. After setting the dials for the desired consistency its lowered into a vat of hops and it begins to spin on circles, spovilating the mosh until its clockwork runs out.

Before this innovation the industry was fraught with scandal as spovilation was acheived by forcing small children from poor families to 'swim' the mosh in primitive wetsuits. The children would sometimes become overcome by the fumes and perish. Bottles of beer from a 'deadwaif' batch would have a black star on the labels and are now highly sought by collectors.
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I am sorry if my previous post caused confusion. pol X: the cable that I mentioned that ties onto the depth meter through the attached loop gradually spins the device as it is lowered down into the well. The cable is usually attached to a motor of some sort, but since this version is more primitive, I suppose that the well maker would spin the cable himself as he lowers it. Once it reaches water, the device would produce a small chirp, or yelp if you will. This sound would be audible to the human ear and would notify the well maker that it has reached water. The device, using its micropores (located on the posterior end) would take a sample of the water and test its salinity level and composition. The well maker would then pull the depth meter out (or in more modern cases-the motor would), and read the dials. If the water composition dial indicates that it is safe for human consumption, the well maker's job is complete. He would then build a stone barricade around the hole and fit it with a wood roof and a bucket. The well maker would then be paid handsomely for his endeavor.

There have, however, been tales in which a small creature is tied onto the device as it is lowered down into the well. Once the depth meter reaches water, the creature would produce the yelp. Since it is unlikely that this primitive device has any advanced mechanism within it, I would suppose that a raccoon or mouse would be tied onto it.
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this is in fact as knackler states a ships log although not a walkers model.i also own a walkers a2 harpoon log and althaugh very similar it is my opinion a massey ships log patented aprox 1806 that we see here.the first mechanical shis log ever patented..
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further to my last comment after more research i have realised that i got the patent date wrong, edward massey was born in the early 1800s(1802 i think) and went on to patent his so called harpoon log in 1863ish a few years prior to the development of the walkers of birmingham england log of a very similar design.
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