Guys, I need your expert help. What are these things?

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Image: Kelly McCarthy
Image: Kelly McCarthy

Yesterday we buried my father-in-law. He was 95 and had served in WWII so he was given a military send-off. It was very moving and we felt honored to receive the flag so graciously folded and presented by the Honor Guard on behalf of the President, the United States Army and a grateful nation.

When we got home, we decided to use our grown kids – one small enough to climb in the attic and the other strong enough to schlep the accumulation of decades from it.

Aside from enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the entire state, these items were unearthed. Does anyone have the faintest idea what they are? I would love to know. Please leave a comment below if you do.

Grill thing
Image: Handheld grill/grater thingy – Kelly McCarthy
Color baskets
Image: Colored crocheted bowl type things. About 3 inches diameter and short handles. Very very clean. Never been used as a sieve. – Kelly McCarthy
Image: Wooden throw thingy with balls and squares - Kelly McCarthy
Image: Wooden throw thingy with white balls and black cubes. Large hole on the back with a small dish that allows the ball/cube to fall back into the drawer shown. – Kelly McCarthy
  • Underhill

    The third item we used to grate potatoes when we made potato pancakes. Probably still around somewhere.

  • Ernie Jones

    The first one looks like voting balls. Every member in the lodge votes on a new member. Round ball dropped in a jar/box means a new member is accepted, square means not approved.

  • Martin J. Groenewegen

    The hand grill is actually for roasting chestnuts in small batches and can be used for fish.
    The crocheted things I think are for eggs and the last one…the voting balls seem likely to me there.

  • Bill Dickert

    Wooden ‘thingy’ is a Ballot Box used by the Masonic Fraternity and related organizations to vote on membership petitions. They are used today around the world.

  • wilma

    I have one of the square screens and always though it was for grilling things that might fall through into the bbq pit. Just my thought and it surely can be used for that.

  • LeslieGreenleaf

    I concur with the –wooden throw thingy- it is a Ballot Box ID for a Masonic Lodge when members vote on membership applications.

  • James1vc

    Ballot caster / game piece , food strainers , french fry or any fried food oil / melted grease “remover”….

  • Douglas Cooke

    The baskets are probably collection baskets for church offering.

  • genann59

    The wooden thing looks like he used it to store marbles. Maybe beads, but more likely marbles. No idea really what the original purpose of the wood thing might have been other than storing keepsakes.

  • The Silver Kat

    The handheld grill as you listed it is, I believe is a grater (cheese, breadcrumbs, veggies(

  • usmcSergeant

    Balls are white and represent a yes vote. Black represent a no vote. Occasionally you will see the black balls as a cube so if the voter is vision impaired they can select a yes or no vote by it’s shape. “White balls accept, black balls reject”. From whence the statement being blackballed came.

  • Mal King

    It is a Masonic Voting Drawer. The drawer contains both black and white marbles/balls. There is an opening on the back and the marbles are placed in s secret ballot. If a no vote is registered, a black ball is chosen and inserted. Hence the term “black balled”

  • The_Canadian

    The square “grill” isn’t a grill–as someone mentioned before it is a grater. My mother had one exactly the same. Used for grating potatoes, onions, carrots etc, by putting the end opposite the handle into the bottom of the bowl, holding it in one hand and grating the vegetable into the bowl with the other.

  • Lonnie

    The third item is not a “grater,” it is a toaster. Lay the bread on the rack, remove the “burner” lid from a wood cook stove and lay the “grate” over the opening, briefly, flip bread until toasted. The hand crocheted items were tea strainers at one time and someone crocheted the baskets on the frame to use them for something else.

  • Sharon Holmes

    Believe the crocheted items are strainers to get the last seeds out of jelly.

  • Moderator

    This is the solution making the most sense for where I found it. Thanks so much for your input!

  • Moderator

    My in-law was Catholic. So the Masonic connection is unlikely. Do you know if there are Catholic organizations that use the same selection process? Also, there are no black balls, but there are black cubes. There is a huge hole at the back with a small indented plate where the wooden balls/cubes can be dropped into the box.

  • Moderator

    They are very small. Do you know which church would use these?

  • Douglas Cooke

    I have no idea, but I’m sure most people many decades ago used coins for the offering, rather than bills.

  • Mal King

    I am a Past Master of a Massachusetts Lodge. It is how I knew about it. I am sure that many other organizations employ it. We have both balls and cubes. The process is correct. We also use the term “”the ballot is clear” meaning no black markers.
    It is a nice means to speed up a vote yet keep it secret.

  • The Masonic Order has Catholic members. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows also uses these ballot boxes.