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This thing was identified by many people as a waveguide for a microwave device, probably a military radar. I had guessed right about one aspect of it; it is designed to hold a low-pressure gas, usually some kind of inert gas, but it's real purpose is to transmit very high frequency electrical signals. Apparently, when frequencies reach the microwave range, it's better to transmit them as waves in a gas, rather than through copper wire.

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This is a crankshaft assembly from a 5 cylinder radial aircraft engine. Someone said it might be from a "Pobjoy" engine. I'm guessing it dates from the 1920's

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Most people thought this was a V-12 engine. The truth is stranger than fiction!  Click here for a detailed explanation. Go here for more pictures of this one.