What Is It? Game 127

Hooray! It's time for our collaboration with the always awesome What is it? Blog. Can you guess what the strange object above is for?

Place your guess in the comment section. One entry per comment, please - though you can enter as many as you'd like. The first one to guess correctly, and the funniest yet incorrect entry (as judged by yours truly) will win a free T-shirt of their choice from the Neatorama Shop.

IMPORTANT: Please write your choice of T-shirt in your guess (so go there and look around, mmkay?). Write no URLs or weblinks - doing so will forfeit your entry. You have till the right answer is posted on the What is it? blog.

For more clues, check out the What is it? Blog. Good luck!

Update 2/12/10 - the answer is: A fog nozzle for a fireman's hose, it was a predecessor to today's nozzle where a twist of the tip can change the water pattern from straight stream to various fog patterns. Years ago the fog nozzle was favored but currently the straight stream is preferred.

Congratulations to Tim H who got it right first (well, close enough) and to SweetMonkeyCreek for this gem: "It's a boot that law enforcement can use for people who illegally park their bowling balls."

Some sort of overpressure valve.
If the pressure gets too high it pushes up the ball and pressure can get out, the little cage keeps the ball from moving away from the opening and keeps it in place.
I love the I love Robots shirt in M.

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The tremendous and exciting sport of squirrel fishing never quite caught on the way Theodore Russelman thought it would, but his artificial acorn lure is still one of his proudest achievements.
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To be more specific, I think it's a heart replacement valve. One of the old ones before they started using mini ping-pong balls.

(If I'm right, I'd love a dark grey I Heart Robots shirt in a ladies' XL. If I'm wrong, I'll weep, wail, and roll in sackcloth and ashes.)
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This is one of my testicles, on display for the enjoyment of the public. It has to be caged for obvious reasons.

....I was wondering where it'd gotten to. Elizabethan Homies, please!
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That's an old Russian brain teaser from the cold war days, back when Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union. The object was about three feet in diameter and weighed over 900lbs. He kept it in his office and often told visitors that Einstein designed the ball but he designed the cage that kept it from getting away.
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Man, the first one of these that I can identify immediately and it's already been pointed out. It's a one way valve. If it is truly small it might even be an early heart valve replacement. Otherwise it could have come from literally dozens of kinds of equipment.
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It is a pet cannonball, early entrepreneurs had the idea that would later become a pet rock, but their slogan "dont have a blast" crippled their ad campaign

cleverly disguised as a responsible adult tshirt
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I think F. Tupp is more correct. Not a pressure valve, but a check valve used in fule tanks in case of rollover. It's shown in the close position (car upside down), but when righted the ball sits in the cage and the valve is open.
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It is a check valve used in a cannister vaccum cleaner to stop the suction in the event of it falling over. used as a safty precaution.

If I am correct, then may I please have the "Swine Flu XL shirt?
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Though it bears great similarity to an early prosthetic heart valve, it clearly isn't, 'cos it's made of brass and has interstices at the apex of the cage - for example.

So - it presumably performs the same function - so it's a non-return valve for something less fussy than blood.
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I know! I know!

It's Obama's bowling ball enshrined for posterity in the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame.

(I'm a XL Military Green "Cleverly Designed As A Responsible Adult")
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Appears to be a one-way valve, used to halt the reversal of a liquid while being pumped upward. Scale is unimportant as this would work for any industrial use. The heart valve mentioned by many commentors may have been designed on such a valve but through modification would be the same.
Donate my shirt to Haitii!
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It does look like a replacement mitral valve (my grandfather had one. He would take it out and show us all the time) but you wouldn't want to put that much brass or metal into the body.
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It's an 'upside down' detector for old sailing ships. [Pirates of t he Caribbean style] If the ball is resting nice and cozy in the hole in the plate then the ship is 'right side up'. If the ball is resting against the cage the ship is 'upside down'.
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@uncle Al, ive seen lifeboats who jave this in an upside down cofiguration on a airvent. When the boat rolls over, no watter can get in.
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This is a secured bell clapper. The brass cage holds the clapper in place. Many church bells have their clappers removed by thieves. Our town hall bell has been fitted with a similar device to prevent repeated theft. NOw the darned clapper misses the edge of the bell completely and all we get is a muffled clank sound.
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I love the 19th century steampunk asthetic where polished brass and iron can come together to keep stuff from blowing up and spoiling tea time. this is a pressure release valve from some wonderful difference engine or weaving mill, or air ship of some kind.
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US Navy Water Fog Nozzle for Applicators used aboard ship many years ago, if memory serves, used with the all-purpose nozzle.

Black, XL, Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible Adult
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My grandfather invented that! He hated the sound of mousetraps, so the sphere was to be thrown at the mouse instead, and the cage was to prevent it from rolling under the sofa..... my grandfather had good intentions but wasn't very bright
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Since Rob has indicated that all the early guesses are wrong, let me take the thinking in a different direction. Perhaps the ball, instead of being heavy (brass) is actually light/hollow and is intended to float upward when the device is surrounded by fluid (the cage obviously keeps it from floating away). After it rises the fluid escapes down beneath the sphere, and when the fluid level normalizes, the sphere settles back to prevent something else (air, gas) from entering.

It might thus be called some type of flotation valve, though where such might be used (and why it would need a knurled ring) is beyond me.
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It is an old drink flow restrictor issued in the 1930's to recovering alcoholics and is placed on top of the beer bottle. It fitted upside-down into the neck of wiskey and moonshine bottles providing an even greater restriction.
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Looks like an air-relief valve. Turn it upside down, put it in top of pipe or whatever. Water raises the ball, closes valve. Air lets ball drop, open valve.

Keep them pumps primed, baby.

"People Like You Are The Reason People Like Me Need Medication" XL please. :)
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Bob had two hobbies, bowling and showcasing his mint 1967 Gran Torino. Martha, Bob's wife, was tired of both. Bob decided to skip town on his aniversary to go to a bowling tournament. This was the final straw. On the night that Bob got back from the tournament, Martha got even. When Bob went to go to work the next morning, he found his lucky bowling ball welded in a jail of sorts. This bugged Bob a little, but he realized he could get it out. However, upon stepping outside he noticed his car completely stripped of its hood. Bob realized that the hood encased the bowling ball he saw. Bob never missed another aniversary.
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