Mysterious shiny metal thingy
October 25, 2021 9:03 PM   Subscribe

What is this shiny, heavy, only-faintly-magnetic metal widget I found in a box of junk treasure?

I recently picked up a free box of miscellaneous hardware from someone's garage clean up. After several satisfying sessions of "things that are the same go together", I now have a vast sorted collection of fasteners, hinges, washers, and mysterious metal thingies. My favourite among them is the one in the photos linked above. It's heavy and smooth and shiny, and I've been carrying it around in my pocket to fidget with. I don't have the faintest clue as to what it is, though.

  • weighs 23g
  • 41 x 28 x 5mm
  • centre to centre measurement of the prongs is 27mm
  • one side has 2A, the other has a logo of a superimposed W and C
  • magnets won't stick to it, but there's a slight pull with stronger ones
  • I'm in Canada, west coast, in case that helps.
  • This came from some dude's home garage, with a lot of household hardware, no specialized objects or themes apparent.
posted by bethnull to Grab Bag (6 answers total)

I feel like it’s a winding key for a grandfather clock.
posted by amanda at 10:19 PM on October 25, 2021

Best answer: It's definitely a deck fill key for a boat, to open up caps on the deck that are connected to water, fuel or waste tanks below decks. These are widely used and have been standard for a very long time. You'd use one of these every time you fill up the fuel or water on your boat or empty your sewage tank.
posted by ssg at 10:45 PM on October 25, 2021 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Also, I believe the WC logo is for Wilcox, Crittenden & Co. Here's an example of the same key with the fill caps.
posted by ssg at 10:50 PM on October 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

And the reason magnets don't stick to is that it is chrome-plated brass, like many things on boats, especially historically.
posted by ssg at 10:57 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you ssg! I am not of boats, so have no familiarity with their bits. I've been reading about Wilcox Crittenden, and looking at many lovely pictures of shiny things!
posted by bethnull at 5:29 PM on October 27, 2021

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