What the Heck Is It! #18

Happy Thursday all, and welcome to another edition of…. What the Heck Is It?

In the last What the Heck you guys helped out with two mysteries. One for Lynette, a TRV reader, and one for me.

What the Heck Is It #17

The concensus was that Lynette’s lucite square thingies were parts of a belt that were linked together with metal pieces. I can imagine that retro belt all put together. I would probably even wear that today.

And after the great suggestions from your guys I did some google research and found that my mystery items are used in a Cuttlebug machine. Even though I watched a You Tube video I’m still not quite sure how they work exactly. Seems a bit like magic to me.

Thanks to all for your comments. I’m so grateful for your wonderful suggestions. 🙂

Now on to this week’s mystery item.


What the Heck Is It #18

I found this at my local Salvation Army store for 50 cents. The design in the middle is very worn and it’s hard to tell what it used to be.

It looks very old and measures about 6 3/4″ across.


What the Heck Is It #18

It has a lovely patina and the four feet are very ornate.


What the Heck Is It #18

It’s about 2 1/2″ high, and the two grabber thinges on the side make me think that it once had a lid of some sort.

Not sure what the four raised pieces are for.


What the Heck Is It #18

The bottom is marked Toronto Standard Silver Co Ltd., 245, and below that are the words HARD WHITE METAL

According to my research this company was started in the late 19th century, and then it merged into the International Silver Co. of Canada Ltd in 1912.

Which means this piece is prior to 1912 because of the mark.

So I know who it was made by and approximately when, but I have no idea what it actually is.


What the Heck Is It #18

What do you think?

What the heck is it? Any ideas?

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. I think I have to agree on the butter dish…the two pieces on the side would hold the knife. Maybe, they put a little ice in the bottom to keep things cool with the bowl or flat piece held by the 4 prongy things…I love it and for .50 what a deal.

      1. Thanks Pam! I love it too. It’s an interesting piece of history. I’ll have to find a new use for it.

    2. Thanks for the suggestion Julia! Now that never occurred to me.

    3. merrilie halman says:

      I also think it’s a butter dish missing the insert and lid, the four prongs are probably where the butter fork rests

      1. Thanks so much for the suggestion Merrilie! A butter dish seems to to the consensus. 🙂

  1. Hi Tuula
    I believe this is/was a domed covered butter/caviar server, but it is missing the lid and knife/spoon.

    1. Thanks Candice! I appreciate the suggestion, and I think you and Julie might be right.

    1. Thanks AnnMarie! Even it that isn’t what it is it certainly could be used as an ash tray.

  2. Don’t have a clue, but it’s interesting. Like all the suggestions of a butter dish. That sounds reasonable. What is a cuttlebug machine?

    1. Yes it sounds reasonable to me too Florence. As I understand it a Cuttlebug is a machine that scrapbookers use to cut and emboss paper for crafting. I watched a You Tube video and it still seems rather mysterious to me.

  3. My first thought was one of those ‘butler’ things….that the butler sweeps crumbs into. But the butter/caviar server makes more sense! Looking forward to finding out!! Dona

    1. The butler is an interesting suggestion Dona. I used to have a silver plated one that was an oval shape.

  4. My first thought (guess) was the same as Dona’s, a “silent butler”. If that’s so, it would have had a lid and a crumb scraper.

    1. Thanks Granny! Having pieces missing certainly makes this thing harder to identify. I appreciate the suggestion.

  5. Linda Jung says:

    I’ve heard of Heavy Metal, but never Hard White Metal! 😉

    1. lol. Thanks Linda. Me too! 🙂

  6. LINDA N. SCHRADER says:

    I agree with others…it looks like a butter dish of some sort. But I think it not only had a cover of some kind, but wouldn’t think you would want to put butter in the metal dish…maybe it had a glass bottom also. Any food put directly on this would surely have a metallic taste. Just my thinking…….

    1. I agree Linda. If it was a butter dish it should have had a glass container in the middle section. I can’t imagine placing butter directly in there, even in the late 1900s.

  7. ColleenB. says:

    Butter dish without the dome and butter knife.
    The 2 little ‘hooks’ would had held the butter knife.

    1. Thanks Colleen! That certainly seems to be the consensus. Too bad it’s missing the other parts. It was probably quite beautiful.

    2. The butter dish on Ebay has the same feet as your mystery piece, so it has to be what it is. Ash tray and crumb catcher had also come to my mind, but butter dish it is!

      1. I think you’re right Lorita!

  8. mary scott says:

    Could be a compote without its glass insert – to serve preserves/jam. Spoon would be cradled in the “grabbers”.

    1. Thanks Mary! That’s an interesting suggestion. I can just picture some lovely jam in a glass insert in the centre.

  9. It is a butter dish. It a shame you don’t have the lid. Cool piece!

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks so much! You’re so right about that. It would have been so nice to find it with the lid. But it’s still a fun piece to have.