Be the first to guess what the pictured item is by leaving a comment below. If you have your own whatsit, our editors may include it in a future post. Please send an email to and attach a clear picture, the size and any markings. Hopefully, we will be able to identify it for our readers!

The pictured item is 29 inches high by 11-1/2 inches wide.

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Photo: Bunch Auctions

19 responses to “Happy #whatsitwednesday!”

  1. zvicki says:

    A wild guess….. A Mimeograph machine? It looks galvanized, like a lot of vintage office furniture, desks and etc. I remember seeing one of the machines in grade school, in Detroit MI. in the 1960’s, and it looked sort of like this?. All of us kids loved the smell of those homework sheets. Each time we’d get our homework papers, we’d all sniff the ink first! LOL.

  2. Mzgti2u says:

    I had no idea they were still around!
    Perhaps we can go 50/50 and record messages to send to each other (;

  3. rulamarr1960 says:

    It looks like a tabletop mimeograph machine, similar to the floor models I used in high school. I hated using them because of the migraine-inducing fumes.

  4. suetue says:

    I can’t wait to find out!

  5. Hookman says:

    Portable Rolodex or

  6. Nancy Warren says:

    Early paper shredder. Shredded paper is held in the bottom.

  7. TRay says:

    A bun warmer! Just the right height for sitting, this device from the 1920’s featured the use of that new-fangled thing Edison called
    “e-lec-tricity.” Used mostly in the northern states, it was an essential item for those dedicated farmers who, on chilly mornings, squeezed milk into those skinny quart bottles that were to be left on our front porch. When the farmer was done relieving mama cow of her excess milk, they would treat themselves to a hot toddy and a sit-down on the best friend a well digger ever had.

  8. Maboone says:

    Looks like it could be a stamp dispenser.

  9. GeneMan1 says:

    Yes, an Edison Ediphone.

  10. captscot says:

    An office Dictaphone from about 1940, had a hose-like device for speaking into.

  11. poak4325 says:

    Looks like a BBQ grill to me

  12. PPiman says:

    Looks like an Edison Ediphone & transcription machine. Circa 1912. Used in businesses to record dictation for playback later.

  13. says:

    Possibly a sterilizer for dental or doctors instruments.

  14. Linda Hurd says:


  15. garioki says:

    As Mzgti2u said, it’s a 1930s EDISON Voicewriter Ediphone Wax Cylinder Recording Dictaphone. There is one with many more pics currently on Ebay.

  16. 2tortoises says:

    Autoclave for sterilizing dental or other medical tools.

  17. 2tortoises says:

    Autoclave for sterilizing dental or or medical equipment

  18. Carriee says:

    Looks like a small compost bin.

  19. Mzgti2u says:

    It is an Edison ediphone!
    In the top half there is a wax cylinder that would record vibration from someone’s voice. The cabinet below would store other wax cylinders.
    It would be more interesting if we saw the entire cabinet and parts.
    There was also a “transcription” machine to play back the wax cylinder recording.

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