It's a... clearly... um...
August 12, 2011 4:06 PM   Subscribe

What the heck is this thing for?

Behind a local Thai restaurant there is this heavy-looking electric motor attached to a long, flimsy-looking pole. Can anyone tell me what the heck it would be used for?

I'm drawing a blank even guessing what use it might have.
posted by chairface to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Improvised vat stirring device? Like, put a flipper on the motor, plug the motor in, stand back and hold the pole?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 4:11 PM on August 12, 2011

it looks more like a part of something larger
posted by everyday_naturalist at 4:13 PM on August 12, 2011

It looks like a belt-drive blower motor for an oil furnace, although I have no idea why there would be some oil-stained pvc plastic pipe attached to it
posted by KokuRyu at 4:17 PM on August 12, 2011

My guess is the motor was located somewhere inconvenient and the stick was probably attached to a switch so it could be turned on or off more easily. But it is, in short, a motor and a stick.
posted by GuyZero at 4:18 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is the "stick" a conduit for the wiring that supplied power to the motor?
posted by jon1270 at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

It looks like an electric shoe buffer.
posted by bfu at 4:48 PM on August 12, 2011

Does the restaurant have awnings or high shades or anything? It could be used to plug into the end of an awning and roll it up and down, without actually being installed and attached permanently, like if they had several of the awnings...
posted by pupdog at 4:52 PM on August 12, 2011

Is there a river or delta nearby? Maybe it is part of a home-made long tail outboad motor. I saw those in s.e. Asia.
posted by yarly at 5:08 PM on August 12, 2011

Are you sure it's attached? It just looks like an old mop handle resting on its j-box.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:37 PM on August 12, 2011

It's an Emerson brand motor.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:33 PM on August 12, 2011

Are you sure it's attached? The motor looks like it's far too heavy to be waved around by that twig.

I'm throwing in; baby (human) sized electric motor with a dirty fancy pool cue jammed into one of its ancillary bolt/structural holes.
posted by porpoise at 7:13 PM on August 12, 2011

Confess, Fletch is right. That's a mop handle resting on a motor.
posted by gjc at 7:32 PM on August 12, 2011

Response by poster: I can go look and see if it's still there but I'm pretty sure that handle was actually attached to the motor. I can certainly see if the junction box is attached to the wall but I'm pretty sure it was part of the motor. Notice the paint matches the motor, not the wall. There is no body of water nearby. It was in downtown Mountain View, CA. It could be used for an awning or truck door but I've never seen one that required an external motor (not that I spend a lot of time looking for that). The restaurant doesn't have an awning or rolldown door.

Downtown MV has some small robotics and tinkering companies so it might have nothing to do with the restaurant but it wasn't near any of those businesses.

I'll go see if it's still there.
posted by chairface at 8:47 AM on August 13, 2011

Looking at it blown up with some adjustments to gamma and contrast (thanks, Irfanview!) it is definitely just a motor, with nothing attached to the axle, and the pipe is clearly some sort of mop handle or something similar adapted to be directly attached to the junction box, probably for remotely flipping the switch somehow -- but it could almost as easily have been merely a handle to lift it into place (I don't see any gearing on the axle, so how it would be secured is a mystery, and the handle base has two 45° braces, and possibly some after-market welding). Without its business end there's no real telling what it was designed or rigged for.

Things that a gsearch indicates a restaurant might use a 1/4 HP motor for: garbage disposers (usually installed in place, unlikely), slicers, grinders, mixers, and even blower fans. I would add dumbwaiters and ancillary equipment such as, yes, awnings to that list.
posted by dhartung at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2011

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