Can You Identify These Everyday Items if They're out of Context?


By: Jacqueline Samaroo

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

What could it be? You see them and use them every day but - pull them apart and the pieces can be infuriatingly hard (and loads of fun) to identify!

You can get so used to seeing some objects in their entirely that it never occurs to you that they are actually made up of different parts. Take that sweet-sounding musical instrument with its bridge, headstock and pegs, for example. It's one of the most common stringed instruments around, but few of us ever really stop to look at all the pieces which make it up. 

And, the thing is, that's how it is with many of the items we encounter routinely. Take the quiz to see what we mean!

It's super easy to be stumped when you encounter an item which is normally a part of something bigger. We hope your brain won't be drawing a blank when you see these - even though some of them are a bit tricky. Will you be left scratching your head each time or will you be having some great "A-ha!" moments with these? Go find out!

Ready to prove how good you are at spotting parts of a whole? There's a whole quiz of identifying parts of everyday items waiting for you. Get started!

Do you know the name of the rods shown here?

The spokes connect the rim of the wheel to the wheel hub (the center of the wheel). The first bicycle wheels had spokes made of wood.


Do you recognize this device used for adding color to surfaces?

Roller covers are typically made of pile fabric (similar to carpets) but there are models that are made of foam. A roller can be cleaned after each use and reused for another painting job.


Do you know what part of a common kitchen appliance is in this image?

Mixer beaters and dough hooks come in a variety of shapes, usually depending on the brand of mixer. When kneading dough with dough hooks, it is usually advised that you complete kneading by hand to assure you have the right texture.


Can you identify this component of a cooling appliance?

Rotary fans date back to 16th century Europe where they were used to ventilate mines by drawing out stale air. The grill or guard of an electric fan is a safety feature to protect against injury from the rotating blades.


Which squirting device is in this image?

Original spray bottles used a rubber bulb as the means of drawing up the fluid from inside the bottle and squirting it out in a fine spray. The modern nozzle did not come about until plastic became a popular production material.


Can you identify this part of a popular stringed instrument?

The tuning keys on a guitar go by various other names. These include: machine heads, tuners, gear heads and pegheads.


Do you know the name for this upper part of a stringed musical instrument?

The headstock is where the tuning pegs are located. The pegs help to hold the guitar strings at the top of the guitar while the bridge holds them at the lower end.


Do you recognize this wall feature found in almost every room?

The protective cover placed over the light switch is known as the plate. The term “gang” is used to indicate the number of switches each plate covers, for example 2-gang plate or 3-gang plate.


What is the name of this colorful part of a blossom?

Petals are actually leaves that serve the special function of attracting bugs to flowers so they can help with pollination. The term “corolla” refers to all the petals making up a flower.


Can you name the container cover shown here?

The crown cork bottle cap (or crown cap) was invented by American mechanical engineer and inventor William Painter in Baltimore in 1892. Painter is also the inventor of the bottle opener used to open bottles with crown caps.


Can you identify this part of most types of footwear?

The heel of your shoe can serve several purposes. These include improving your posture, making you look taller and allowing you to maintain your balance as you walk.


Do you recognize the drain clearing tool in the photo?

The cup of the plunger is an indication of where the plunger is to be used. A plunger for a kitchen drain looks like a hollow ball cut in half. A toilet plunger cup, on the other hand, has a narrow cylindrical projection on the end.


Which necessary feature from a “way finder” is this?

A map’s legend or key serves as an explanation of the symbols used on the map. The legend allows the map to remain uncluttered.


Can you identify this popular component of electronic devices?

The USB socket or receptacle allows you to attach other devices (known as peripherals) to your computer. These devices include: a mouse, printer, digital camera and media player.


Can you spot the part of a bike shown here?

The first handlebars used on bicycles were straight bars of either wood or metal. Nowadays, there are many different types of handlebars, many of them featuring a curved design for easier grip and control while steering.


Can you identify this section of a sewing implement?

A hand sewing needle has the point at one end and the eye (which the thread goes through) at the other. Sewing machine needles, however, have the eye at the pointed end. Knitting needles do not have an eye.


What’s the name of the heat adjusters shown in this picture?

A stove’s knobs allow you to adjust the heat on individual burners, the oven and griddle. Many modern stove burner knobs also serve a decorative function.


Do you know the name of this part of a common fastener?

The tab on the zipper is more correctly known as the slider. Sliders are often made with a locking feature which prevents the zipper from opening any further once the lock is engaged.


Which part of an illuminating fixture can you spot in this photo?

The base of a light bulb helps to hold the bulb securely in the socket or receptacle. The base is typically made of metal, ceramic, glass or plastic and in some cases, the base helps to make the electrical connection for the bulb to work.


Do you know which handy accompaniment to your favorite brew is shown here?

The tea bag tag or label makes it easy for you to remove the tea bag from your cup once brewing is complete. It also serves as decoration helping to advertise the brand of tea.


Can you name the time-telling helpers in this picture?

Clocks with hands are called analog clocks. Quite often, analog clocks are designed without numbers but most people are still able to tell the time fairly accurately based on the position of the hands.


Which part of an item of furniture is in this picture?

The earliest chest of drawers had pulls made of turned wood. Later on, ornamental brass became the material of choice for making drawer pulls.


Which strap fastener is shown in this image?

The history of the conventional belt buckle can be traced back to fasteners used on the body armor of Roman soldiers. These fasteners were typically strong, made of bronze and expensive. They served a decorative function, as well.


Do you know which handy device is shown here?

Drawer knobs are one variation of drawer pulls or cabinet pulls. They come in an array of styles and are typically used as much for decoration as for pulling the drawer or cabinet open.


What’s the name of this decorative part of common window treatments?

Apart from being called window treatments, curtains are also referred to as draperies. Curtains hung in a doorway are specifically known as portières.


Which part of a popular cutting tool is shown here?

Each half of a pair of scissors has a sharpened blade and a handle. Although “scissors” is plural, we do not refer to each half as a scissor.


Can you identify this part of a device used for pressing garments?

Irons for smoothing clothes have been around since the first century CE. The modern clothes iron has a sole plate (hot plate) made of either stainless steel or aluminum. The plate is polished to an extremely smooth finish and heated by​ electricity.


Do you know what this covering used on a cooking appliance is called?

Enclosed clay stoves were used in China from as early as 200 BCE. Similar stoves were also used in Japan from about the third century CE.


What’s the name of this part of a handy power tool?

The drill chuck holds drill bits. When the bits are very thin, a pin chuck is used.


Can you spot the item found on top of a common writing tool?

The modern pencil of graphite (mistakenly called lead) encased in wood was designed by an Italian couple in 1560. The first design for a pencil with an eraser attached was patented in 1858.


Can you identify the part of a car’s stopping mechanism shown here?

Foot-operated brake pedals have always been a feature of cars. Regardless of whether a vehicle is designed for left-hand or right-hand drive, the brake pedal is always located to the left of the accelerator pedal.


What part of a popular musical instrument is shown here?

The guitar bridge is located at the lower front end of the instrument. It holds the stings in place just as the pegheads do at the top of the guitar.


Which section of a popular fastener is shown here?

The head or clasp of the safety pin is designed to keep it closed and to protect the user from the pin’s sharp point. Large safety pins used on infant cloth diapers have an extra mechanism to ensure it is harder for them to open unintentionally.


Which part of a common hygiene item is this?

The very first cotton swabs, named “Baby Gays,” were invented in the 1920s. The brand name was later changed to Q-Tips Baby Gays and then later to simply Q-Tips (with the “Q” meaning “Quality”). In many countries nowadays, all cotton swabs are referred to as Q-Tips.


Do you recognize the helpful laundry item shown here?

Clothespins were originally made from a solid bit of wood split at one end. The current style with two separate halves joined by a spring did not come into being until the middle of the 19th century.


Which part of an indispensable laundry day appliance is shown here?

Washing machine agitators are either “straight-vane” or “dual-action.” Their main function is to cycle clothes from the top to the bottom of the washer and back again.


Can you identify this part of most types of eyewear?

Glass balls are often cited as the very first vision correcting devices, used in about 1000 CE. The balls were used by farsighted persons and acted as a kind of magnifying glass for them to view near objects.


Do you recognize the chopper from a kitchen appliance in this image?

The shape and speed of a blender’s blades help to create a vortex to circulate the contents of the blender past the blade for chopping. The shape of the jar also contributes to how well the blender creates the vortex.


Do you recognize this section of basic cooking vessels?

Pot handles come in a wide assortment of shapes, lengths and diameters. The angle of attachment of the handle also varies among brands, as does the height along the side of the pot at which the handle is placed.


Which propulsion device is shown in this image?

The common screw propeller is based on a design by Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer Archimedes who lived in the third century BCE. Some of the biggest propellers used on modern marine vessels are over 30 feet high (about the height of a three-story​ building).


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