Be the first to guess what the pictured item is by leaving a comment below. If you have your own whatsit, our editors can include it in a future post. Please send an email to editor@kovels.com 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 4 1/2 inches in diameter.


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Kovels Item

60 responses to “Happy #whatsitwednesday!”

  1. kovels.com says:

    This a ship’s prism. Position it with point down and insert it into the deck of a ship to provide light down below.

  2. kovels.com says:

    This a ship’s prism. Position it with point down and insert it into the deck of a ship to provide light down below.

  3. norcalgal says:

    Yes, I think this is too small to be a deck prism…….now I think it’s a crystal paperweight for a desk.

  4. norcalgal says:

    Yes, I think this is too small to be a deck prism…….now I think it’s a crystal paperweight for a desk.

  5. iwantitbad says:

    It looks like a paper weight. Possibly Waterford Crystal? My Mom has one that lights when plugged in.

  6. iwantitbad says:

    It looks like a paper weight. Possibly Waterford Crystal? My Mom has one that lights when plugged in.

  7. SPal says:

    It’s a deck prism.

  8. SPal says:

    It’s a deck prism.

  9. flash472002 says:

    I agree that it’s a glass prism that lets light into lower decks on a ship.

  10. flash472002 says:

    I agree that it’s a glass prism that lets light into lower decks on a ship.

  11. Curlewqueen says:

    There was a sale of this prisms several years ago by the Public Broadcast network. The original ones were for light in the lower decks of sailing ships, really a unique way to get light below the deck.

  12. Curlewqueen says:

    There was a sale of this prisms several years ago by the Public Broadcast network. The original ones were for light in the lower decks of sailing ships, really a unique way to get light below the deck.

  13. skatyeight says:

    A deck light or deck prism. It’s a prismatic glass set into a ship’s deck, to let natural light below. … The earliest deck prisms with provenance are from the 1840s. … the HMS Terror did not have portholes, but used Preston’s illuminators instead.

  14. skatyeight says:

    A deck light or deck prism. It’s a prismatic glass set into a ship’s deck, to let natural light below. … The earliest deck prisms with provenance are from the 1840s. … the HMS Terror did not have portholes, but used Preston’s illuminators instead.

  15. joe0315 says:

    Just give the point a twist inside of a half lime.

  16. joe0315 says:

    Just give the point a twist inside of a half lime.

  17. ewenadamson says:

    I think it was too small for a deck prism – I think its part of a grating which would have 30 or more of these in a cast iron grid set in the pavement and would let light into basements. There used to be lots in London and presumably other cities.

  18. ewenadamson says:

    I think it was too small for a deck prism – I think its part of a grating which would have 30 or more of these in a cast iron grid set in the pavement and would let light into basements. There used to be lots in London and presumably other cities.

  19. maxjones45 says:

    It was sunk into the deck of a ship to allow light to enter the compartment immediately below.

  20. maxjones45 says:

    It was sunk into the deck of a ship to allow light to enter the compartment immediately below.

  21. sluneburg says:

    This was used on sailing ships to provide light below deck.

  22. sluneburg says:

    This was used on sailing ships to provide light below deck.

  23. hunterfinder says:

    green crystal pyramid paperweight.

  24. hunterfinder says:

    green crystal pyramid paperweight.

  25. zvicki says:

    Looks like it might be a glass paperweight. The top is cut similar to a gemstone though, so maybe a gemstone “model” from a jewelry store display?
    Those are my best guesses!

  26. zvicki says:

    Looks like it might be a glass paperweight. The top is cut similar to a gemstone though, so maybe a gemstone “model” from a jewelry store display?
    Those are my best guesses!

  27. patsyann45 says:

    It is a copy of a “deck prism” from an old sailing ship. The clear prism was fitted in the ceiling to provide light to the room without it leaking.

  28. patsyann45 says:

    It is a copy of a “deck prism” from an old sailing ship. The clear prism was fitted in the ceiling to provide light to the room without it leaking.

  29. Qhill says:

    It was used on the deck of old whaling ships so the light from above would defract into the below deck of the ship. They obviously could not have windows near the water line. The flat part would be flush with the deck. and provide light to under

  30. Qhill says:

    It was used on the deck of old whaling ships so the light from above would defract into the below deck of the ship. They obviously could not have windows near the water line. The flat part would be flush with the deck. and provide light to under

  31. callmelrc says:

    This is a ship’s deck prism. It would be inverted and installed flush with the deck to allow sunlight to filter into the hold below.

    This looks a a re-pro that was sold by Restoration Hardware in the 1990’s.

  32. callmelrc says:

    This is a ship’s deck prism. It would be inverted and installed flush with the deck to allow sunlight to filter into the hold below.

    This looks a a re-pro that was sold by Restoration Hardware in the 1990’s.

  33. mjdhoffman says:

    glass paper weight

  34. mjdhoffman says:

    glass paper weight

  35. Toadtree44 says:

    Deck prism, used on a boat to provide light to below deck areas. Installed, it would upside down from the one pictured.

  36. Toadtree44 says:

    Deck prism, used on a boat to provide light to below deck areas. Installed, it would upside down from the one pictured.

  37. Toadtree44 says:

    The item is a deck prism, used on a boat to provide light to below deck areas. Installed, it would be upside down from the one pictured.

  38. Toadtree44 says:

    The item is a deck prism, used on a boat to provide light to below deck areas. Installed, it would be upside down from the one pictured.

  39. seesbythesea says:

    The prisms that would magnify light so the lighthouse keeper could see when tending the light.

  40. seesbythesea says:

    The prisms that would magnify light so the lighthouse keeper could see when tending the light.

  41. SWhiteVIF says:

    Used to transmit light to a lower deck on an old ship.

  42. SWhiteVIF says:

    Used to transmit light to a lower deck on an old ship.

  43. Wishbone says:

    used in the bottom of the kalidescope to magnify the contents of the tube

  44. Wishbone says:

    used in the bottom of the kalidescope to magnify the contents of the tube

  45. seesbythesea says:

    To magnify the light so the lighthouse keeper could see when tending the light.

  46. seesbythesea says:

    To magnify the light so the lighthouse keeper could see when tending the light.

  47. Leesouthern says:

    It’s a deck prism, likely a Mystic Seaport reproduction.

  48. Leesouthern says:

    It’s a deck prism, likely a Mystic Seaport reproduction.

  49. TricHome79 says:

    It’s a deck prism, used to provide light below a ship’s deck, and safer than fire based light sources.

  50. TricHome79 says:

    It’s a deck prism, used to provide light below a ship’s deck, and safer than fire based light sources.

  51. TricHome79 says:

    It’s a deck prism. Built into a ship’s deck, these would provide light below deck safely, as opposed to fire based light sources which don’t agree with wooden ships.

  52. TricHome79 says:

    It’s a deck prism. Built into a ship’s deck, these would provide light below deck safely, as opposed to fire based light sources which don’t agree with wooden ships.

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