From Shoe Tester To Doll Holder: 40+ Uncommon Tools And Utensils Used To Perform Unique Functions

By Sachin P

Everything appears to be a nail if all you possess is a hammer. But if you have the right tools for the job, you may tackle any issue in various ways. An effective instrument excels at the task for which it was designed. But you would not believe how specific random tools can be. It’s astounding!

To understand exactly what we mean by that, we have created this listicle of unusual tools that exist to perform very specific tasks. A number of them are documented on an intriguing online forum. It’s quite amazing to see just how creative humanity could get, from steno machines to nuclear power plant demolishers to cyanometers (which gauge how blue the sky is) and well beyond.

Stay tuned if this is something that appeals to your curiosity because we guarantee these innovations are extremely intriguing to learn about! Enjoy!

Steno machine used by stenographers and reporters

Court stenographers and reporters are in charge of recording witness testimonies given throughout court sessions. They rely on the use of stenographic equipment to capture crucial information from witnesses and litigants. These professionals can write extremely quickly on stenographic machines.

Polygraph-Eyes7 / Reddit

That’s because of their special keyboard layout as well as their shorthand writing style. This technique and equipment aim to speed up the transcription of verbal discussions into written texts. For later use, the written transcripts are added to official records and the public domain.

Thread cutting scissors

If your mom had a biscuit tin full of knitting supplies, you will definitely be familiar with this next one. This is what you call a thread-cutting scissor. This looks much more ergonomic because of the finger handle attached to it.

micasa_es_miproblema / Reddit

The scissors we remember from childhood didn’t have a handle like this. However, even without that, our moms were pretty nifty with them. Really takes you back, eh? All nostalgic until you stab yourself accidentally, forgetting that they’re in your hand!

A gadget that checks the effectiveness of smoke alarms

Now, what do we have here? It seems like this person is trying to vacuum some sort of ceiling outlet. Maybe it is too dusty and needs cleaning. Or perhaps this store maintains rigorous cleaning standards. That, we would understand.

A_Cat_Named_Frank / Reddit

But, as usual, it’s none of the above. It’s a device for smoke alarm testing. It emits a puff of fumes after securely covering the device, allowing the person operating the control panel to determine whether the smoke detector is working correctly or not.

The yarn winder

Now, this unique tool could send many nana’s boys into a pit of sadness. When nana was knitting, her grandkids were told that they were irreplaceable because they helped her to wind up a length of yarn. But, alas, times change.

3askaryyy / Reddit

With this revolutionary new design, the yarn winder, you can cut down on manual labor. That leaves more time to gab with your nana and get her perspective on boomer days when a minimum-wage job could sustain a family of 4!

Solar panel brush

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells are built to last between 25 and 30 years and necessitate little upkeep after installation. However, keeping them clean is still necessary to maintain efficient power production. Dust accumulation is a significant problem where people rely on solar panels extensively.

astorres6030 / Reddit

Energy losses due to gathered dirt and dust on solar cells can be a major concern. That is where this gadget comes in. It’s basically a mobile brush with a tractor attached to it. The rolling motion of the brush cleans the panels quite effectively.

Special tweezer to remove nose pads from spectacles

Please raise your hand if you have only come to know of this tool’s existence today! Who would have thought that there was a separate tool for removing the nose pads from spectacles? We thought they fell off of their own volition!

HeySquirrelFriends / Reddit

Anyone who has worn spectacles with special nose pads can attest to that fact. These days, plastic frames have a special notch to take care of that. So, nose pads have now faded into obscurity. Almost, that is. If you dig that vibe, we think there’s a chance you can still find glasses with them.


The cyanometer, created by Swiss physicist Horace Bénédict de Saussure in 1789, was a circle composed of paper samples that were colored progressively darker shades of blue from white to black. When Saussure visited the Mont Blanc base as a student, he became fascinated by the sky’s blueness.

mks113 / Reddit

The scientist observed what he described as “a blue of the 39th degree.” So, he created this device that measured the sky’s blueness. The only problem was, outside of him, the machine had little significance, so it rapidly fell out of use, mainly due to the lack of enough scientific information.

UV Microphone sterilizer

Now, what could this Alexa-like box be? Well, this happens to be a specific gadget that is used to clean microphones! Not the handle, though, mind you. A little sanitizer and wet wipes can take care of the handle pretty quickly.

Frog23 / Reddit

What this does is it disinfects the receiver by means of UV radiation. You just have to cover the receiver with it and put the switch on top. With that, the device almost completely removes any trace of germs and bacteria from the receiver.

Scania P360

This looks like a fantastic vehicle to transform into; perfect for a “Decepticon” if you ask any Transformers fans. That spike looks pretty neat as a melee weapon too. Maybe a giant-sized “Scorponok?” That would look really awesome. But what is this machine, really?

Love4BlueMoon / Reddit

Imagine there is a fire in a building that is inaccessible to firefighters. That is where this Scania P360 with a scorpion stinger comes into play. It can penetrate deep into the inaccessible area and douse the flames directly with a jet of water.

A set of violin peg-fitting tools

No matter how much time passes, certain tools and apparatuses tend to stay the same, like the stuff that you see on this table. That very weird-looking mallet is what is used to drive the pegs into the peg box of the instrument, we think.

Vivid_blue / Reddit

Come to think of it, since the days of Stradivari, these tools have been the same. Why change something if it gets the work done, eh? No point in innovating on something that needs to stay simple because it gets the job done.

Spider crane does whatever a spider crane can!

Okay, now, this has to be another “Decepticon” of some sort! Just look at the overall setup! A spider with what looks like a 30-foot stinger? Wait! Spiders don’t have long tail-like stingers. Doesn’t “Facehuggers” from the Alien franchise have a long tail?

Troooper0987 / Reddit

Actually, this is a kind of unique lift. People use this to get into hard-to-reach places like the two guys at the top. The legs act as anchor points, so they don’t really make the whole thing mobile. There are wheels for that. Just don’t get on this if you’re acrophobic!

Poppy seed grinder

We have an excellent poppy seed grinder here. The ideal machine when making poppy seed rolls. These tiny seeds frequently get overlooked when compared to other culinary cereals. That’s because they are most frequently linked with bagels, bread, and other kinds of pastries.

zzzjimmy / Reddit

Poppy seeds, however, not only give dishes a wonderful flavor and texture. They also have some respectable health advantages. They improve circulation, which keeps cardiovascular illnesses at bay, and also help with bone health. Poppy seed oil is additionally used in the production of varnish, paint, and soap.

Buttkicker 3000

To be honest, this raises more questions than it answers. What is the function of all these shoes fixed to a rotating platform like this? Is it some kind of modern-day device to eke out punishment to naughty first-time offenders?

jonpeeji / Reddit

It kind of looks like it. The almost cartoonish setup has a definite Looney Tunes vibe to it. We can see someone getting their butt kicked with this. Actually, this happens to be a shoe tester from the 1940s. This machine must have been used to test the durability of shoes.

Time to pick up the pieces

Good thinking out-of-the-box solution that we see here. Instead of doing back-breaking work collecting pieces of metal on the highway, you can apparently let this contraption take care of everything. That is what we assume from all that we can see. Heck, there’s even a go-pro on it.

chaseoes / Reddit

Well, as per the poster, a maintenance worker managed to come up with this. It may look like just a collection of pipes, but there is a powerful magnet that dangles from it. So, this overall setup is used to collect bits and pieces of metal from road shoulders.

Whisk to your heart’s content!

Everybody who has used a whisk knows how hard it is to clean one of those things. Whether it be making an omelet or whisking batter to make a cake, the cleaning process can drive anyone up the wall. Well, not anymore, it seems.

mangowhymango / Reddit

This utensil is here to whisk away all your whisk problems! Simply place it snugly on the spokes. Then, scrape out any stubborn grime or cake mixture that refuses to be washed away. Let’s just hope that cleaning the whisk cleaner isn’t an ordeal in itself.

Hard-boiled egg cutter

Knives can cause injuries if improperly handled. Emphasis on the words “improper handling.” If you really know what you are doing with a knife, the chances of getting injured are usually quite slim now, aren’t they? However, accidents do still happen, so be careful all the same.

Bubbly_Equipment_940 / Reddit

This peculiar porcine-shaped utensil is a specialized cutter for boiled eggs. If you need every slice of a hard-boiled egg to be uniform so the salad looks aesthetic, this is what you need. You can do the same job with a sharp knife but this is certainly more efficient.

3D printer or weird excavator?

Looks like an industrial-sized 3D printer now, doesn’t it? Is it just applying the mixture in layers in a backward motion? Because that is what we see here. Plus, why are the edges all jagged? Aren’t they supposed to be smooth?

Well, this is something like an anti-3D printer, but instead of printing, it destroys stuff. Here, it is shown destroying a cooling tower built for a nuclear power plant. Since the whole setup is remote-controlled, the demolition can be done from a safe distance.

Hip clamp for lifting cows

Now, this is what you call a hip clamp. It is a specified tool specially made for helping cows who are lying on the floor on wet cement (The loss of friction could prevent them from being able to properly stand up and cause accidents).

TheMexicanJuan / Reddit

It is also used on cows who have milk fever or birthing injuries. The tool is placed over the cow’s hips and turned like a jack to lift. To avoid slippage when lifting the cow, the hoist is usually adjusted as needed.

The jig is up!

If you love sewing, we know that you want this really bad! But what is it? Seems like a sort of measuring device. From what we see and judging by the marks on the tartan, has to be something related to that.

micasa_es_miproblema / Reddit

Apparently, we were right on the money! This is what you call a jig. It’s used for marking the waist and hip widths on the pleated sections of a kilt. To make things easier, it has what you might call “guiding lines” for accurate alignment with the tartan pattern.

Blade removal tool for a deli slicer

The instrument in silver is called a deli slicer. If you are American, you are probably familiar with what a deli slicer is. If you are not, it is a meat-slicing machine used to slice processed meat into wafer-thin slices.

PuzzleheadedLunch199 / Reddit

Now, that means that the blade used in a deli slicer can be razor sharp. Like really sharp. So, removing one might need extreme precaution. That’s where this gadget comes in. It helps to remove the blade safely, preventing injuries.

That looks neat!

If you have trypophobia or you think you have trypophobia, it would be better if you skipped this next one. The perforated pattern can trigger some uncomfortable feelings. But what is this gadget, which reminds us of a lotus root?

mitchellrj / Reddit

Well, it is something that IT professionals and neat freaks all over the world treasure. This is a network cable comber. It “combs” those unruly network cables and arranges them into a neat bundle. Those who have used this know how satisfying it can be.

Automated laser weed killer

Three years after the Seattle-based business was founded by software executives, Carbon Robotics unveiled its driverless weeder. The system includes carbon dioxide lasers placed on a four-wheel base with computers that use machine learning to detect and “zap” weeds. Sounds so cool!

SmtDnny5 / Reddit

The system is fueled by diesel and hydraulics. With the help of its eight laser units, the weeder is capable of killing over 100,000 weeds every hour. Carbon Robotics attributes the quick growth of sensors as well as camera resolution to the application of deep learning techniques.

Location unlocked!

The first thing that sprung to mind when we saw this was some sort of a landmark. That is because we know that to demarcate certain land borders, such monuments are built. But this one seems to have a map on it also.

youngrichyoung / Reddit

What it is, is no big mystery. At least not anymore. This is what you call a mountain index. It shows which mountains, peaks, and hills surround where you are currently. So, if you are lost or want to know where you should be heading, this could help!

Shape memory alloy tires for Mars missions

For rovers, in particular, the Martian surface is tough and uninhabitable. NASA’s robotic explorers require technological advances as Mars expeditions get more complicated to probe the planet’s past. At NASA’s Glenn Research Center, one such innovation is this new tire.

Buzobuzobuzo / Reddit

This special tire uses shape memory alloys (SMA). Unlike normal rigid wheels, tires manufactured from such shape-shifting composites bend with the terrain, providing unsurpassed endurance. In fact, they can enclose rocks, which are plenty on Mars’ surface, without taking the risk of perforation.

What could this be?

Pretty neat, by the looks of it. But what could it be? A prop for a swivel door, perhaps? That can’t be right because, from what we can see, it is hinged on the two corners of this flat piece of wood.

DodgyUsername / Reddit

Oh, now we get it! The hinge gives the answer. That and the fresh coat of paint. This seems to be the poster’s version of a DIY door painting frame. It’s perfect if you don’t want to get paint everywhere and paint the door with a uniform coat of paint.

A doll holder

Now, what’s this sheriff badge with a doll in it? Some kind of doll police that we were not aware of until today? With the kind of merchandising ideas that come out of the woodwork these days, we’re not that surprised that something like this exists.

greyblacknavytan / Reddit

This isn’t some badge for doll police but rather a hanger for dolls. Yeah, you heard that right. A hangar that’s found in American Girl store restrooms. The doll could be hung here as the little ladies took care of business.

How do you like them apples?

Sometimes we don’t get the preoccupation of peeling a perfectly good apple before eating it. There is nothing like biting into a ripe, crisp apple fresh from the tree. If the setting happens to be a hot summer day, then that’s virtually bliss!

ajcpullcom / Reddit

The peel actually adds to the overall flavor. However, that’s just our opinion. If you want to peel and slice your apple, there is nothing better than the Star apple peeler and slicer. It hails from 1871, and this is one of the three in existence.

Violin corner rib clamp

If you own a violin, you know how repair can be tricky. When regluing the ribs toward the corner blocks, this tool is employed. This specific clamp is frequently employed when a rib has detached from an interior block or when the block needs to be changed because it cracked.

peat_reek / Reddit

The blocks are attached to an interior mold over which modern, high-quality violins are built. The mold is then carefully removed after the ribs have been cemented to the blocks. Essentially, the building of a violin begins with the blocks.

What are these lances used for?

Funny-looking tools, aren’t they? By their shape, we assume that they serve a particular purpose. But what can it be, though? They look pretty sharp too. In the Peloponnese Mountains, the poster ran into a truffle hunter. These are the shovels he said he uses.

flex_inthemind / Reddit

They had the opportunity to take a picture of his truffle shovels. The spear-shaped one is intended for black truffles. That’s because they are usually found deeper and on more rocky terrain. The flat one is intended for white truffles, which tend to thrive in gentler soil.

Do you want to build…industrial amounts of snowmen?

There is immense joy in making your own snowman. Rolling up fresh snow into a big, round ball to make the rotund body, then making a smaller ball for the head. Twigs for arms, carrot for a nose…ahh, what pleasant childhood memories.

QuarantinedRabbit / Reddit

But making a machine to make snowmen? Who would order industrial amounts of snowmen? If you manage to look at a video of this thing at work, you will see rows and rows of snowmen. Looks like an army! Is there some snowman mobilization going on that we’re not aware of?

Large wave flume at a research lab

This is a flume. If you don’t know what a “flume” is, it’s a man-made water channel. As opposed to a ditch or trench, a flume takes the shape of an open, declining gravity chute with walls elevated just above the surrounding terrain.

aloofloofah / Reddit

Aqueducts, which are designed to transfer water instead of goods through moving water as flumes do, should not be mistaken for flumes. They are built so that they are longer than they are wide. These are used to test the wave characteristics of water. That wave almost makes us miss the ocean.

Woodworm damage

Have you ever come across a piece of wood with woodworm damage? Well, this actually looks somewhat like that. But considering what we have seen so far in this article, this must serve a purpose. But what could that be?

Jiggy_Kitty / Reddit

This is used to fill multiple communion cups with wine. So, wine is poured at the right end. The tray is then lifted above a row of communion cups placed under the small perforations so the wine is filtered neatly into the cups.

Time to get beamed up!

Okay, who installed what clearly looks like a loading dock for a spaceship in someone’s driveway? Somebody call “Han Solo” because a part of the “Millennium Falcon” is somewhere in the continental United States! Now how did that happen? Time to dig deeper.

Fast-Money1290 / Reddit

Unfortunately, this is not space-age technology. This happens to be a dryer, for people. When you are all soaked up from using the water rides, you can use this to dry yourself. It’s almost like those high-tech wind cleaners they have in labs.

Giant vacuum for collecting leaves

If you live in a place that experiences the seasons fully, you can expect mounds upon mounds of leaves almost everywhere during autumn/fall. It might bring kids joy, seeing all those leaves and playing around them. But as an adult, it might be a bit of a problem for you.

thisonelife83 / Reddit

Well, that’s where this comes into play. Instead of blowing leaves into a pile, this just sucks everything in. Much more convenient than using a leaf blower, in our opinion. There’s next to no mess, and it won’t take that long to clean everything!

An escalator hoist

What you see here is an elevator hoist. Hoists are lifting equipment that use mechanical advantage to move items vertically or hold dangling weights. They can be mechanical or electro-mechanical. They utilize pulleys or gears to convert small forces exerted across lengthy ranges into bigger forces exerted across short distances.

GeorgeMeowington / Reddit

That’s how mechanical hoist gears spread weight. This particular one happens to be an elevator hoist. With how huge elevators are, this must have been an exciting sight for the poster since it’s not every day you come across such tools.

Book dusting machine

If you have a dust allergy and you maintain a library where you live, then this is for you. Book collectors know how much of a hassle it really is to dust off each and every book. If you are thorough, it takes hours.

NerdWhoLikesTrees / Reddit

Not anymore! Apparently, there is a machine for cleaning books of dust. Oh, how far technology has advanced! Gone are the days when you had to trouble yourself looking for rags to clean your books. Just pop it in and wait!

Laser railway rail profile scanner

First, you need to know what a rail profile is. It’s a statement used to describe various track profiles based on their distinctive cross-sections. For generations, rail track varieties have been identified using this style of categorization; early examples include Barlow, Bullhead, and Vignoles rail profiles.

lescalais / Reddit

Modern conventional railway track segments typically consist of rolled steel elements. These have standard sizes and a basic “I” shape with something like a head section, web, and foot section. What this machine does is scan everything to see if it is uniform and up to standard.

“Tweetie” the railroad shunter – National Rail Museum, York, UK

Railroad shunters are employed to move large carriages, locomotives, and wagons on the railroad. These are shunting-specific machinery, not modifications for the railroad. They benefit from having very simple movement on both the road and rail systems, which ensures outstanding mobility.

VerticalDepth / Reddit

This seemingly tiny machine can move a train that is three to four times heavier! Since it’s located at a rail museum, you can already tell that the work of this specific one is to move trains at the exhibit. If you’ve never been, you should definitely consider going.

Time for some cheesy bread

What can this contraption be? The gadget is used to scrape something off the walls of this big pot. Oh, wait! Are those embers we see in the middle? If they are, then we think the mystery is half-solved already.

Smart_Sell7885 / Reddit

This is a bread oven that is used to bake Georgian bread. If you have ever tried Georgian cuisine, you might be quite familiar with their delicious cheese bread, khachapuri. Well, the baked bread is taken from the oven using a hook like the one pictured here.

Press for cutting mosaic glass

You guys must be familiar with mosaics, right? If you are reading this from anywhere in the Mediterranean, you just have to be. There’s always a chance that you can dig the ground casually to plant some tubers, and voilà, a Roman-era mosaic pops up!

spinagon / Reddit

Well, this person here is sizing up a piece of glass into small pieces. They will then use those small pieces to form a beautiful mosaic. By the looks of it, the final product must be an absolute stunner in all regards.

Even the name makes you wince!

This is a kind of key that is used to turn an orthodontic expander. This tool progressively opens up your child’s jaw and palate so that their adult teeth can erupt regularly or so that the misaligned jaw can be fixed.

ChrystynaS / Reddit

Every expander used in orthodontics is manufactured specifically to accommodate a child’s natural palate. Over the course of three to twelve months, it gradually widens the room in your child’s mouth. Wrapped wires secure the molars to the upper jaw against the palate.

Some kind of roller?

Remember that flamethrower that Elon Musk marketed? Now, we know that this is not one of these newfangled devices, but the overall color scheme and the shape remind us of them. Wonder what happened to those. They were pretty popular for a while.

Hije5 / Reddit

This here is a large-sized roller you use for wrapping large items in cling film. Ever seen large boxes neatly wrapped with polythene? Rollers like these are responsible for that. If the package is too large, a mechanical roller will do the task.

Pizza cutter

According to most people, pizza is the food of the gods. Whether or not you subscribe to this notion, we still have a question: Have you ever wondered how pizza slices are always so uniform? Pictured below is an automatic pizza cutter.

Waddup10 / Reddit

There must be a specific reason to use this gadget, right? You would think that once you have dealt with enough pizzas, cutting them into six or eight slices takes next to no time. However, there’s obviously no need to stress if you have a machine like this to make your work easier.

Electric honey-uncapping knife

Because of the excessive moisture present when honey is stored in the comb, sealing it in that condition causes it to ferment. When honey’s moisture level reaches about 17.6%, a wax cap is placed on the honey cell. It is then fanned by bees to reduce its moisture content.

flufftartponcho / Reddit

The wax cap shields the honey from defilement by other hive material and keeps moisture from reentering, thus enabling it to ferment. This knife caps those wax plugs, making it easier to extract the honey when it is deemed ready.

Hook at the bowling alley

So, this mundane hook is what you would use to pull up bumpers in a bowling alley. But what is a bumper? Bumpers enable more players to participate in the game without being concerned about gutters. They can be put in by request.

ThrivalOfficial / Reddit

Or you can put them through the assistance of staff at a bowling alley’s main counter. Bumpers are indeed a nice addition to just about any bowling lane since they direct the ball’s motion toward the pins hence encouraging beginners to play the game!