While its form is anything but design drudgery (and quite an unusual statement for a coffee table), the original function of yesterday’s “What the…?” was routine. And not for steeping tea.
Terri got it. This Brass Laundry Ball dates back to 19th century Sweden. Washing machines sure have come a long way. (Now, if only someone would invent an automatic folding machine.)
If you come across relics from a bygone era that are mysterious in their purpose, be sure to send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org.