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Old 03 January 2019, 04:50 PM
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Default Help identifying mystery object

I thought about posting this in either "Stupid Questions," or "Odd Things You've Seen Today," but figured a new thread would be the most fruitful approach.

Anyone recognize what this odd plastic object could be? The logo is an old logo for the Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly the "Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America," for those curious about the initialism.) Someone came across the picture and posted it picture to a Barbershop Harmony Facebook group, but other than several joke suggestions, no one seems to have a clue. The most plausible earnest suggestion was a phone cradle, but the orientation of the logo doesn't make sense if the feet are assumed to be used for a wall mount; also, no one can figure out what's going on with the pull cord thingy. Unfortunately, it seems that this one pic is all we have to go on - there's no way to further examine the actual object.

Given that this board helped me identify some antique glass fire grenades based only on a rough sketch some years ago, I was hoping that someone might recognize this thing. I doubt that it's anything specifically music-related; I think it's some generic object that was branded with the Society logo as some sort of promotion or memorabilia.

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Old 03 January 2019, 06:54 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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The wire and female receptacle coming out the bottom appear to be for a telephone connection as used in the 50s and 60s. I'm not sure what the connection in the device is. However, most of time, the female receptacle would have been on the wall and a device for holding a telephone would be a male plug. Still researching.
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Old 03 January 2019, 07:16 PM
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According to Wikipedia the society was founded in 1938 and officially stopped using the old name in 2004, so that puts some dates on when it could have originated at least... although it looks like it's made of fairly modern plastic anyway.

I'm not sure that is a wire and female socket, though. It looks like a pull-string to me too.
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Old 03 January 2019, 07:25 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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I think you may be right about it being a pull string. It isn't deep enough to be a receptacle.
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Old 03 January 2019, 07:28 PM
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Ponder

A platform for a dinner plate? You set a plate on it, plug it in and wait for the plate--and presumably your food--to heat up. Doesn't sound worth it though.
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Old 03 January 2019, 07:34 PM
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You should try r/whatisthisthing over on Reddit. They do amazing work identifying strange objects.
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Old 03 January 2019, 07:35 PM
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My money is on a phone cradle, with the male receptacle being to hold the handset secure and the “female receptacle” being, as suggested, a pul string.

I think I see three smaller holes around the pull string receptacle, which could be for screws to mount it to the wall or a socket.
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Old 03 January 2019, 10:59 PM
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Glasses

It looks like a toilet paper roll holder. The top two projections seem to have indentations where a solid roll ends would fit. Maybe it played music when you pulled the cord.


Morning
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Old 04 January 2019, 01:59 PM
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Well, we got an answer, and a video demonstration! We were on the right track with "phone cradle," and it turns out it is musical:

Quote:
This is a music box. It hangs on the back of a 1960's style telephone handset cradle. When someone calls, while you are getting the person, place the handset on the music box. The first hold music!
link to Facebook video of music box playing "The Old Songs" (an old barbershop tune traditionally sung to open chapter meetings
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Old 04 January 2019, 06:13 PM
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It's great you got an answer, but I'm kind of bummed the S.P.E.B.Q.S.A. shortened its name. Next thing you know they'll be banning straw hats and bow ties!
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Old 04 January 2019, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
It's great you got an answer, but I'm kind of bummed the S.P.E.B.Q.S.A. shortened its name. Next thing you know they'll be banning straw hats and bow ties!
It was a joke in response to the "Alphabet Agencies" of the New Deal, and it hung around for 70 years. We're now just the "BHS International," which is boring, but I guess easier to fit on letterhead. (The decision to change was the source of much consternation within the ranks at the time, and you'll still find people kvetching about it years later.)
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Old 05 January 2019, 11:08 PM
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Icon106

Barbershop Harmonic Society?
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