Mystery kitchen holder thingie — what is it?

kitchen holder in knotty pine kitchenOkay, what is it? Kate McKinnon, recently profiled for her discovered undercabinet lighting, writes to inquire about this mysterious oddity: 

knotty pine kitchen with weird holderHi, Pam!

My friend Suzanne just moved into a 1956 house in Monterey, California, and she has a gorgeous knotty pine kitchen. It seems handmade to me; not all of the doors fit properly and it’s got some gaps and custom touches. It’s charming as could be, and she loves it.

We can’t figure out what this setup on the inside of one of the lower cabinet doors is for, though, and thought we’d see what you had to say. The kitchen has most of the expected gadgets installed- the jar opener, the towel holder, you know. The good stuff. So this is probably something along the same lines.

I don’t think the plastic thing is related to the screw hanger and loop, but I’m curious about all three.

The plastic thingie has a variety of holes, reminiscent of a screwdriver holder, but the holes are too small for tools. What could it be for?

I suspect the screw and loop held a whisk broom and dustpan (with the pan upside down). What do you think all of this is?

Best!

Kate McKinnon

I am going to guess it has something to do with holding used plastic grocery bags. But I say that with no conviction. Surely someone will know this one in a heartbeat.

And, you can keep up with Kate on her blog here.

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Comments

  1. Jason says

    Hello Friends…….It looks like there is a booze bottle inside the cabinet where the “thingy” is. Might I speculate that the “thingy” could have been a holder for bar/drink mixing accessories? Is there anything on the counter top above that cabinet that looks like might require accessories that would be stored someplace? Things that make you go, “HMMMMmmmm!”

  2. Elaine says

    We have to remember, plastic grocery bags did not become the norm until the 1980s. It was after 1982 that Safeway and Kroger began using the plastic bags instead of paper. ‘Tis true that this device is likely quite a bit later than 1956, but it looks like earlier than 80s.

    The thing doesn’t seem sturdy enough to hold cleaning implements… Things that are long enough to poke through at the bottom, though.

    I’m voting against the broom for the loop on the bottom just because it doesn’t have anything to keep it from sliding down to the floor level when the door is open.

  3. Sarah says

    Looks like it might have held some sort of hand held mixer. The smaller holes were for the beater attachments. Not sure if this is the exact use but it likely held some sort of small appliance.

  4. melissa says

    I’m pretty sure my grandmother had this & it was used to hang a mop & broom…..not sure but thats what it looks like.

  5. Marion Powell says

    I think her idea of whisk broom on hanging screw (there was always a little metal loop on the handle end) and dust pan handle shoved into bottom clamp may be right. It would be a homemade solution to a storage problem.

    As for the plastic holder, I’m stumped. It’s odd the way there’s a keyhole opening on top but only round beneath it. The hole on the right looks especially chewed up and discolored around the edge. Nothing comes to mind.

    Sure hope someone figures it out or I’ll be obsessing over it. Lol

  6. Joe says

    Mystery solved! That was the organizer/holder for an electric handheld cleaner/scrubber that was on the market for a brief while back in the 1970s. The large round cutout on the right held the bottle of cleaning concentrate liquid. The center round w/square jutout cutout held the actual electric cleaning machine. The little holes held an assortment of cleaning tools & brushes that popped into the cleaner head (in the same way you could pop beaters into a handheld mixer). You name any silly gizmo marketed back in the 1960’s thru 1990’s and you were sure to have found it in our house. I remember the one featured in this article because my dad thought it would be useful for doing the tedious cleaning and my mom thought it was more trouble than it was worth to use and a waste of money. Apparently, most people felt the same way about the gadget because it went off the market real fast. By the way, you can tell by the “ghost marks” on the cabinet door that someone hung a dustpan from the hook and there was a dustbrush in that metal hoop at the bottom.

    • pam kueber says

      yes, sounds convincing, Joe. Thank you! Would love to get a pick of the actual electric oddity at some point, though! I will have to make some ebay searches to see if I can get it to reveal itself!

  7. JKaye says

    Joe sounds convincing. Whatever it is, I would try to come up with some new use for it. That loop on the bottom — maybe it was used for holding a little whisk broom upside down, meaning with the handle down in the loop, and the whiskers pointing up. (Which would be weird.) Did any of the other doors get so much action on the inside? That door really has put in some service.

  8. Melanie says

    Yes, definitely a dustpan hanging from that screw. I hang my dustpan the exact same way and have pretty much the same wear marks.

  9. Suzanne says

    Wow, excellent responses, everyone! That is from my kitchen, and, it has mystified me since I moved in.

    By the way, my dustpan hangs from another screw inside the cabinet under the sink. It has no place near my vodka.

  10. Jasmine says

    I dont want to say the person above is wrong, stating Mystery solved. However, my grandma had something that looked like this and she had fondue crap in it. Its hard to be sure withour knowing the size of the holes, and my grandmas had less small holes, I think. I remember Fondue sticks, you give your guests in the left. The candle smiter in the middle(thingy to put out candles) and a big metal whisk on the right. Not sure that was what it was made for but that was what she had in it.

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