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What Is It? game 308

Now it's time for our collaboration with the awesome What Is It? Blog! What is this thing? You don't have to know to win!

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. You might know the true answer, but we're going to select two winners who come up with the funniest, most outlandish guesses to win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop. However...

Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?

Check out more pictures of this thing at the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!

Update: this turned out to be a Type K D.C. Relay that was made by the General Railway Signal Company. We had a lot of funnier guesses. Trillian guessed it was an emergency jumpstarter for Frankenstein's monster. That's good for a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! Another great guess came from azog, who said it was "an early prototype of a defibrillator. Unfortunately it tended to blow off the patients thumbs." That paints a picture, alright, and it's good for a t-shirt as well! Find out the identifications of all the mystery items of the week at the What Is It? blog.

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

It's a manual distributor box. Back in the early days of automotives, one person had to drive, while a second person disconnected and reconnected all the spark plugs as fast as they could, in order to keep the car running.

Magic motivation - XL - Black
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It's a robotic hamster cage. Wherever the robot hamster went, he could just plug into the nearest terminal bar to take a nap. In the back, there was a mechanical salt block equivalent as well, which was simply a nine volt battery attached to the wall.

Magic motivation - XL - Black
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It's an automatic fish-broiler / fish-tank combination. In the early 1900s, before refrigeration was common, this fish tank doubled as a fish-broiler by simply connecting the tank to an electrical source. This kept the fish at top freshness until it was time to eat!

Magic motivation - XL - Black
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Shortly after his famous lighting storm kite flight, the ever curious Ben Franklin racked his brain to come up with a useful device that would take advantage of his discovery. Hence, we have the prototype of the "Franklin Handshake Buzzeth Engine". Sadly, it would be for others develop a more manageable size, but never let it be said that Ol' Ben didn't have a sense of humor.

10th In UK - Med.
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It's a party-line Morse code listening device. With several relays in tandem, the theory was that you could receive five letters at the same time, increasing the speed of Morse code by a significant amount. In practice, however, it took five people on the sending end of the setup and five people on the listening end, and they often confused their messages together. This appliance was the inspiration for the telephone, however, because it was so terrible of a machine.

Magic motivation - XL - Black
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Little known to most people, the game of Operation actually began as a multiple-person torture device, shown here as a prototype model. The "recipient" as the game-players were called at the time, had to weave their fingers around the terminals as quickly as they could. When they inevitably made contact with the metal, they would receive a punishing shock, and then it was the next player's turn.

Magic motivation - XL - Black
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GRS (General Railway Signals) DC railway signal relay - while it is old technology for railway signals, there are still some in service, mainly because they last forever.
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This looks to be the internal workings of a courtroom device used in federal criminal cases. There are three inputs and twelve outputs. The prosecution, judge, and defense each got a button that was wired to one of the three inputs. At any time the lawyers or judge felt the jury wasn't paying attention, a push of their button would send a mild electric shock to each of the twelve jurors seats. Because of the complexity and indiscriminate nature of the device, it has mostly been replaced by the spitwad and straw.

Kamaji natural L
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It's overachiever's potato clock. Place twelve potatoes on the twelve terminals on the lid. The box contains the LCD dispay. Place three potatoes on the three terminals at the top of the black canisters and turn to set your awoogah wake up alarm.
Han Am, 2x, Grey
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The Whirl-It-Sir Electric Mouse Organ. After being chased from the stage for playing "The Nells of St Mary's" on his mallet-operated Mouse Organ, Mr. Ken Ewing decided maybe the audience was right on the cruelty issue. Besides each mouse was only good for a note or two, before playing flat. He decided to add this electric console.
The specially trained mice would be attached by their tales to the rows of connectors. Then by pressing the top of the connector a circuit would be completed and the mice would emit their tonal squeaks. The diagram in the front shows the mouse setting pattern for the key of C.
This organ was not much more successful. While still emitting the dulcet mouse tones of the manual version, the aroma of slowly frying mice was somewhat off-putting.

Troll Security 2XL please.
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It's the interactive, therapeutic, high-stakes game of Electroshock Roulette! Great for asylums and/or parties. Where's that live wire hiding? Find out and get your buzz on!*

*Not intended for use with patients with pacemakers. Consult your nearest mad scientist before playing.

Captain Tight Pants Delivery M
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This is one of the few remaining examples of Mr. Tupper's first foray into Electo-Tupperware. The invention never took off as could not fit in the fridge while still plugged in, not to mention it was a real pain to clean.

"danger" in xl
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In the year 2234 a new craze sweeps the nation- Battleship chess! The winner takes it all, the loser gets 3000 volts!

Ladies fit large Pumpkin King
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The day Montgomery "Scotty" Scott turned 8 years old, March 3, 2230, his maternal grandfather, RAF Capt. Alastair Ferguson (RET), a renowned tinkerer, gave little Scotty an Aberdeen Electronics Build-It-Yourself Electronic Chess Set. Once complete, the pieces of the chess set were maneuvered around the board by remote control. Unfortunately, Grandpa Alastair delighted in proving his chess superiority over the boy and berated Scotty game after game when the boy's chess pieces lost power and he was forced to resign. "You need more power, boy!" Alastair gloated. "I'm giving it all I've got, Captain!" the boy replied. Furious at his grandfather, Scotty set to work designing a new charging station for his chessmen. You see before you the results of that effort, the Scotsman's Revenge Power Station. Royalties on sales of the unit paid for Scotty's engineering studies at the University of Edinburgh and the monthly card he mailed to his grandfather with the simple inscription "Checkmate, Laddie!"

Iconic, Ash Gray, women's M
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It is Doctor Frankenstein's variable voltage reanimator: The size, composition and relative "freshness" of the subject to be brought back to life required flexibility in the rate of charge.

The vagaries of weather and resultant variance in lightning amperage required the fine adjustment available with this device.

Lesser of Two Weevils XXL any color
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An early collaborative effort between Doctors Ivan Pavlov and Victor Frankenstein to develop a cognitive training device to hone the monster's tactile dexterity skills. It started out as a selection game where pressing the correct button would provide a tasty peanut reward, and the wrong button would deliver a memorable shock.

Frankenstein's monster never could grasp the concept and, in frustration, he grabbed a heavy mallet and bashed it to smithereens. This is the last remaining example of the game which later morphed into what we now know as Whack-A-Mole.

When Worlds Collide - Men's 3X
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It's one of many distraction devices used by pickpockets. You hand it to someone and ask them what it is. While they're staring at it in confusion, you rob them.

Consulting Detective (by Tom Trager) S
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It used to be part of the Barbie Torture Chamber Play Set. Not pictured are the color-coordinated tools and outfit for the doll.

Consulting Detective (by Tom Trager) S
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It's an electric eel generator. In the days before chemical batteries portable power was very hard to come by. However, by placing several electric eels in the fish tank below and connecting appliances to the nodes above, one could power multiple appliances whilst on the move!

Call Daddy, Black-Large
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