Do you know what this is?
Science blogger Southern Fried Scientist found it in a cabinet in his laboratory. It's got a motor, which turns some kind of centrifuge, and a set of optical lenses, which appear to be focused on the center of the centrifuge drum. It's made out of Bakelite and steel, and the older scientists in his lab agree that it's probably early 20th century vintage. Whatever it is.
One final clue, two patent numbers that are written on a plaque which also identifies Bausch & Lomb as the makers of the optics—# 1,648,369 and # 1,907,803.
What do you think, Boingers?
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.