Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trash or Treasure? Please Help!

WOW! It's been ages, right? I mean really... it's just been rather too long! I've been busy like you wouldn't believe since relocating to the West Coast, and will at some point soon compose a post aimed at keeping my faithful readers abreast of all of the current projects brewing at FinderMaker Manor. Until then, however, I have just one question for each and every one of you: What is this thing???

Frankly, I'm stumped. First things first, though...

This weekend I felt compelled to embark on a spur of the moment drive up the coast to one of our usual beachcombing spots; it is remote, and requires a near life-threatening scramble down a cliff face to access, so it is rare to see another soul and common to find weird stuff washed up.

We survived the cliff-face scramble down to the water and commenced to ramble along the rocky coast some distance until the geography presented an insurmountably rocky outcropping, which I, ever eager to discover more curious objects, determined that I would simply have to surmount. Surrendering my preference for keeping dry, I took a few minutes to study the swell and retreat of the waves and, in a moment of relative calm, picked my way out around boulders submerged waist-deep in cold water and made my way back in towards a tiny secluded beach on the far side of the outcropping. I quickly scanned the area for any odd detritus (looking specifically for buoys on this trip but always on the alert for anything interesting at all) and honed in rather quickly on what looked like a rosy, metallic rib poking up among a cluster of surf-lapped rocks; I made my way over and immediately dubbed the thing "Jonah's Rib" and determined it worthy of closer inspection back in the company of my cohort.

It is copper; that much was easy enough to surmise, but beyond that I was unable to determine its age or any concrete purpose. What intrigued me most were the closed ends. Please humor me here and examine each end closely; you'll see just as I did that they appear to have been folded closed purposefully. What is being held inside by those folds? A treasure map? Drugs? Lead weights? Sand? Nothing?

The thing has some nice green patina on it and may have been fully covered in that green patina at one point; I've started to think that as it washed close to the shore, it may have rolled around on the rocks and sand for some time, rubbing away much of the patina and exposing the bright copper beneath.

When I first discovered it, the exposed copper was bright and rosy colored like a brand-new penny; over the past few days, however, the copper has dulled and darkened considerably. It isn't particularly heavy, but then it doesn't feel empty either. It doesn't rattle when shaken or bend easily. Oh yes, and it is 13.5" long x 5/8" wide and ranges from 3/8" to 1/2" on the side depending on where ones measures (some parts are more squished than others).

Questions foremost in my mind:
1) How long must copper be submerged in salt water to acquire that crusty green patina?
2) When was copper tubing invented? Although the thing is sort of a flattened, beat up tube-shape, it is definitely tubular, which is to say that it was formed as a tube from the get-go and not as a sheet of copper that was rolled and soldered, as there is no seam running along the length. Figuring out when copper was first extruded as tubing may help me determine the age of the thing.
3) What, if anything, is inside?
4) Can any of my readers help me figure out what this thing is? Is it trash or treasure?

I'm going to give myself a few weeks to do more research, and then I will perform as delicate a surgery as I am able to open up the object and see if there is something concealed within. I will post the results of my findings right here on FinderMaker, so please check back in the next few weeks and if you have any thoughts on what the thing might be, please send me a message; I need your help!


Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Ooooh! I have no idea what it is, but what an excellent adventure. That alone makes it treasure. Plus it's kind of beautiful, no?

Pwag said...

Any copper is a treasure at your local scrap yard.

I know the ends look like they were folded shut on purpose, but if this tube was rolling around the surf for a while, then ends would thin up and fold as it went end over end.

I hope there's a map to some lost treasure though. It is pretty with the oxidizing though. My temptation would be to hang it somewhere, a tree or a window, to remind me of a good day spent loafing in the surf.

pam said...

I have nothing of value to offer, but i would be as curious and excited to learn it's purpose as you are!

Could have come from a sunken ship. To me the ends really don't look as if they were closed by accident. But who knows.

On another note! Welcome back! YOU have been missed. I hope all is well and you are finally at home in a place that inspires and excites you.

in between thoughts said...

hi! I do not know what this is either, but as a longtime peruser of FinderMaker I am so happy to see a new post by you! I can't wait to see what you make of this new curious item, and for your chronicles of your new adventures in general...!