FROM PAUL KEANE:
I feel pretty certain that the Whatzit is an old fashioned pencil sharpener without the cover on it. Used to be (for the younger generation), every classroom had one of these mounted on the wall, normally near the door. In order to sharpen your pencil so that you could write on your tablet (the original touchscreen, so to speak), you had to ask permission, then you would put your dull pencil in and the turn the handle on the other end. The gears would grind your pencil down to little of nothing because all you wanted to do was turn the handle fast enough to make a loud “whirring” noise that would disturb everyone in class. That left you with a pencil that you had to somehow grip with the palm of your hand. Good times before technology ruined everything.
FROM MELANIE SKILLMAN:
That’s the “guts” of a pencil sharpener. There is still one hanging in our office, and we actually use it.
FROM STAN SCHWARTZ:
Looks like the working guts of a pencil sharpener. Most likely a manually operated one; not some fancy-schmancy electric model.
FROM LYNNE HUMMELL:
This one is easy – because I’m old! It’s the guts of an old pencil sharpener, the kind Mrs. Rampey had screwed to the corner of her desk in first grade. It was covered by a cylindrical outer part that held the wood and lead shavings from all those No. 2 pencils. Do not put your fingers in there!
FROM RANDY KECK:
I’m sure all of us old geezers know that’s the inside of a manual pencil sharpener. The cover would catch the shavings. I remember some had adjustable holes for different-sized pencils. One would usually be found in an office or school where a lot of people used pencils.
FROM RANDY MANKIN:
Easy one. It’s a pencil sharpener minus the cover.
FROM CHRIS GUNTY:
That’s the inner workings of a pencil sharpener. Used to have one mounted on the wall of every classroom.
FROM PAUL COATES:
The Whatzit this week looks like the internal blades of a pencil sharpener. There was a housing that fitted around the blades to catch the wood shavings as you turned the handle to sharpen the pencil.
Here’s what it looked like, from another angle and with the housing to hold the shavings. Never any fun emptying that thing: No matter how careful I tried to be, I knew I was gonna get that black graphite dust all over my hands. Life was sooooo haaarrrdd back then!
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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