Found: An Arizona Mystery Machine - Atlas Obscura
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Found: An Arizona Mystery Machine

The mystery machine, posed for the spotlight.

The mystery machine, posed for the spotlight. (All Photos: City of Mesa Transportation Department)

A mysterious metal machine in Mesa, Arizona is gumming up pretty much everyone who tries to identify it.  

The solid steel machine appears to have been custom-made and weighs over 1,000 pounds. Road workers found it in a field back in September, and brought it to the attention of the Transportation Department, who crane-lifted it back to the department vehicle yard. After weeks of trying to place it, they are now calling on the public to help claim, or at least name, the impressive hunk of junk.

The bottom of the machine (presumably).

The bottom of the machine (presumably).

Clues to its identity include two metal tags, one on the side that says ”SET BOTTOM OF SCALE TO TOP PUNCH ENTRY,” and one affixed to a column that says “UPPER PUNCH PENETRATION.” There is also a stack of rusty wheels engraved with numerical settings. 

The bottom label.

The bottom label.

Like taxonomists scratching their heads over a new type of frog, local experts have been able to puzzle out the genus of the machine, but are completely unsure about the species. 

Bill McLeod, the city’s Transportation Field Operations Supervisor, told Fox 10 Phoenix he could tell it was “a machinist type object”–something used to make parts–but continued, “I just don’t know much about it.” 

Rusty wheels with inscrutable settings.

Rusty wheels with inscrutable settings.

Anyone who does is encouraged to call the City of Mesa Transportation Department at 480-644-6553.

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.