This picture is from a Kovels reader and has us stumped! If you know what this was used for, please leave a comment and let us know! 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 appears to be about 8 inches long (closed and open views shown).

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Photo: A Kovels Reader

11 responses to “It’s #whatsitwednesday!”

  1. says:

    Answer from Kovels: It’s a scrimshaw container that could have been used as a powder horn or held something like fish hooks.

  2. Cathy Dwire says:

    A duck call device

  3. Ljs1455 says:

    Flint fire starter.

  4. muncle says:

    It’s a needle case for sail making.

  5. dbarbagallo says:

    Antique Bone Rope making tool

  6. garioki says:

    It would be easier if we knew what the end material was. It appears to be a mid 19th century turned whalebone rope splicing fid or hole maker with carved fishscale grips. The dowel in the end piece lends me to believe it had other ends that could be interchanged, but as it also carved it itself seems to be a handle. The piece is intended to be pushed, as indicated by the grips, but not levered, otherwise the material could have a tendancy to break. Interesting piece 🙂

  7. dca says:

    Fishing net awl. For repairing fish nets on the boats.

  8. flash472002 says:

    Maybe a bird call of some kind? I can imagine the short piece being twisted inside the long piece, to make a chirping sound.

  9. susie2222 says:

    Leather burnisher?

  10. seattleite says:

    I wonder if it’s a case for cribbage pegs, or perhaps case for needles for making/repairing nets or other ship-related sewing

  11. jvdl says:

    A sailors Fid for weaving rope

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