What the Heck Is It? #1

You guys were so helpful with my Finds of the Week post last week that I’ve decided to start a What the Heck Is It? series. It’ll run on Fridays and might not be every week, but just when I have something cool to share.

I often find unique and interesting vintage things and have no clue what they are so I think this will be fun, and hopefully a learning experience for both you and me.

So here’s the item that you guys helped me with.

vintage can opener

Who knew this was a can opener? Not me, that’s for sure. But it seems many of you knew exactly what it was.

Once I had this info I was able to do some research. Even though I couldn’t find one exactly like this one I did find vintage can openers of a similar design. They seem to range in value from $6 to $10. So my 25 cent investment paid off.

I never would have guessed that people actually used this dangerous looking gadget to open cans. They were certainly braver than I’d ever be. Sounds like an accident just waiting to happen. I think it’ll be much safer to hang it on a wind chime.

So here’s the mystery item, to me anyway, that I found this week.


Just like the can opener I found it in the 25 cents kitchen gadget bin in two pieces.



I put it together…



…and the lovely lady at the thrift store counter said it counted as one piece.



It’s aluminum and marked Ekco U.S.A. and is about 7″ long.




I have no idea what it’s supposed to do.  Here’s what it looks like when it’s open. I thought about a nut cracker but I don’t really think so. Have you ever seen one of these?

What the heck is it?

Thanks so much for reading and until next time…

keep on keepin’ on!


I sometimes share my projects and posts at these fabulous parties listed here.


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  1. It’s an ice crusher, Tuula. I bought the same one in the States years ago but never used it. It’s in my junk pile for a while now, waiting to become part of something. One day it will talk to me … 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks for the info Julia. I have no doubt that it will speak to you some day, and I look forward to seeing the outcome of what it says. I know it will be another fabulous junk creation. Hope you have a great weekend too.

  2. Hi Tuula,
    I was going to say ice crusher too like Julia. I know you will figure out something cool to do with it.
    Happy Week End.

    1. Thanks Kris! Happy weekend to you too.

  3. We had one of these when I was a kid. Mom said it was a garlic press, that’s what she used it for anyway.

    1. I can see how it could be used for both Jane. I’m going to have to try it out and see how it works.

      1. CLINITA KOLESAR says:


        1. Thanks Clinita. I’m sure it can be used for both purposes. It’s a handy little tool.

  4. ColleenB.~Texas says:

    Ice Crusher for sure. Adding one ice cube at a time you hand crush .
    Forget about using this if you plan on making snow cones as you would be all day crushing ice with this baby. :}

    1. ColleenB.~Texas says:

      I must say; you find the most Wonderful and unique items.

    2. Seems like a lot of work to me Colleen even for just one ice cube. Thanks for the ebay info. It looks like my 25 cents was a good investment.

  5. Well, I couldn’t have helped on this one! But it does look like it would crush ice and it also seems, according to Colleen’s research, you made a great investment for your 25 cents!! This will be a fun post when you find things!! Did you ever find out what that strange thing was that I sent you?? Dona

    1. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what it was Dona. 🙂 Sometimes I feel so clueless. lol. I never did find out what that item was that you sent me, but I think it’s perfect for this series. Look for it next week!

  6. Most definitely an ice crusher but, my goodness it would take forever to fill a glass!
    Garlic presses have holes for the garlic to push through.

    1. I know, right? I really can’t imagine doing that much work for a little bit of ice. Thanks for joining in Debbie. 🙂

    1. Thanks Kirby! I think it will be a lot of fun. 🙂

  7. I’m going with a garlic press. I have a similar series called “What would you call this thrift store find?” . It has been a while since I did one though. They are fun and usually have a good response.

    1. I did one of these a while ago in my finds of the week series, and it was such fun that I always meant to get this series going. I’m glad I finally got to it. You should get yours going again. It would be fun to see each other’s mystery items.

  8. Looks like a vintage garlic masher to me. Just put the clove in and press. Even if it really is an ice crusher, it would work with the garlic too! I love the idea for this new post! I often find things I have no idea what they are and can’t find them on the internet 🙁

    1. Thanks AnnMarie! I agree. I think it could probably be used for both. I have a weakness for mystery gadgets, and have a hard time resisting something when I don’t know what it is. Must be the cat in me. lol. Curiosity… and all that.

  9. Yep, I was thinking garlic press too… but ice crusher maybe now that I’ve seen several people suggest that!


    1. Thanks Tania! I think it could probably be used for both, but I might have to test it out and see.

  10. Defintely Ice Crusher. This is fun to see all the comments too.

    1. Thanks Jennifer! That’s just what I was hoping.

  11. I would have said garlic press too. Interesting looking. Great idea for a post! In fact, I have a mystery item I’d like to find out about so I can list it. You’ve gotten so much great input, I think I will.

    1. Go for it Florence! I’ll be interested to see what your mystery item is.

  12. looks like a garlic press to me also

    1. Thanks for joining in Carole. I appreciate the input. 🙂

  13. mary scott says:

    Ice crusher – a good old bar tool!

    1. ColleenB.~Texas says:

      ” a good old bar tool!” or a husband wacker. :}

    2. Thanks Mary! It would be a perfect gadget for a bar. Even if it wasn’t used it looks pretty cool.

  14. I don’t like being old enough to know what these mystery items are, Tuula! LOL! Are you 12??? I ask because I am only 15. 😉

    1. hahaha. I’m old enough and I don’t know what they are. lol. Actually I’m probably about 10. 🙂

  15. This is fun – both the post and the comments. I would have said garlic press.

    1. Thanks Donna! I hope to find some wind and crazy treasures for this series. Just another reason to go to the thrift stores. As if I needed another one. lol.

  16. Yep, it’s an ice crusher. We had one when I was little. Of course, you could also call it an instrument for torture- because your hand would be cramping by the time you finished using it .:-)

    1. Thanks Carla! I was wondering about that. I don’t think my hands could take it. They get tired at the gas pumps. lol.

  17. My guess was going to be garlic crusher. I never would have known it was for crushing ice! Love this series idea! Fun! xo Kathleen

    1. Thanks Kathleen! I think a garlic crusher is a good guess. It’s better than what I can up with, which was bupkis. lol.

  18. Patricia B says:

    Hey Tuula,
    It is definitely an ice crusher. A garlic press always has holes to let the garlic out. Thanks for this fun game!! Love ya’

    1. Thanks so much Patricia!