WHEN I WAS A KID, we put this thing on the handlebars of our bikes. We thought it made us look fast…and I was the fastest kid on two wheels in my neighborhood…and the neighborhoods around my neighborhood!
Here’s what you called it:
That looks like it might be a capo for a clarinet — if such a thing existed. Seriously, I have no clue.
I think it’s a steering knob. My papaw had a similar one on the tractor back when there was no such option as power steering.
Bill Stickels III:
I think this week’s “What is it?” is a steering wheel knob for a car. They were meant to make for easier one-handed steering, especially turning with older cars that didn’t have as tight of a turn ratio as today’s models. I haven’t seen many of them live, but I remember an episode of the original “MacGyver” where he had to use it as a projectile to stop some bad guys who were chasing him.
Ummm, a fancy cigar cutter for the stylish man of the ’40s??
It’s a steering wheel spinner. It attaches to the steering wheel and allows you to steer your car with one hand or the palm of your hand. I once heard someone refer to it as a “suicide spinner.”
We called it a “suicide knob.” And when it was put on a car steering wheel, it looked like this:
But we had never heard of Brodie and we liked the idea of calling it a “suicide knob” because it gave us a sense of derring-do and youthful heroism. Those guys who had suicide knobs on their handlebars were the superheroes of that time.
Most of the time, you’d find a Brodie knob on the steering wheels of cars, but especially trucks, because it made steering (especially parallel parking) with one hand easier.
GOT AN IDEA for the Whatzit? Email Ed at email@example.com and we’ll do what we can to stump others!
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IN A POST PUBLISHED last September, I ran an infographic from Jack Milgram titled “28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead.”
Jack is back…this time with an infographic about languages.
Jack has titled it: “Language in Numbers: The Most Captivating Statistics.”
Interesting stuff. Here it is: