It's a pot scrubber! In last week's Alibi, I asked readers to identify a mysterious object that Film Editor Devin D. O'Leary had unearthed at a yard sale. With a riveted metal handle attached to a wide mesh made of linked metal rings, it had confounded us for weeks. Suggestions from readers poured in, most of them guessing that it was a rug beater, something we were sure was impossible; the thing was just to flimsy to be any good at beating dust out of a sturdy rug. But two astute readers (first Susie Rodee and later, Jerry Monarch) e-mailed within hours of each other to identify the utensil as a vintage pot scrubber, specifically for dredging bits of food from the bottoms of cast iron pans. Once we had this lead, it was easy to confirm. A simple eBay search revealed two similar items and one nearly identical. The good news is that we estimate the pot scrubber to be from about the '30s and, according to eBay, it's worth about $20. The bad news is that O'Leary refused to part with the thing and now I have to go buy one on eBay. The whole search and discovery was fun, though, so I'll be posting more mystery gadgets and giving out more prizes in the near future.
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