Can You Identify This Odd Item Found in a Billings, Montana Dump?
Scrounging around in old dump sites around Montana is something I just can't resist. When I was a kid, we had a "dump" back in a ravine at the edge of the woods. My parents dumped junk there and so did whoever owned the property before them. Judging from the age of the stuff, so did the people before that. It was kind of like a junky time capsule. The further back into the ravine you explored, the older the junk. As a kid, it was a fascinating place to play and we spent hours there, breaking old bottles and finding "treasures." Thank God for tetanus shots because my brothers and I acquired plenty of scratches and scrapes exploring mountains of rusty old stuff.
Nowadays it's not exactly acceptable (or legal) to dump your trash in random places, but it wasn't that many decades ago that Coulson Park in Billings was a garbage dump. As was the riverbank outside of Laurel. I suspect that some private landowners in more isolated places around Montana still have hidden gullies where unwanted items get discarded, left to rust and slowly rot away.
Years ago, farmers and ranchers would dump old cars and other big pieces of junk along riverbanks to prevent erosion. Crude? Perhaps. Environmentally friendly? Not so much. But it was also a somewhat effective technique to slow the banks from washing away during high water and spring floods.
Out walking the dog a couple of weeks ago in one of my spots, I came across an old dump site that I'd poked around in before and didn't find anything really interesting. Mostly old cans and bottles, rusty bedsprings, and antique appliances full of bullet holes. This time, I found this weird little glass thing pictured at the top of this story. Here's a closer look.
If you are slightly dirty-minded (it's ok, me too) I would agree that it kind of looks like some sort of weird old sexual device. Smooth glass on one end, with a bulb-ish gnarled part in the middle and a small handle. After cleaning it up, I could read the words "CORY FILTER ROD" on the handle and a patent number on the other side. The word "filter" kind of rules out my original thoughts on what it is. I'm fairly knowledgeable about old vehicles and I've never seen any type of glass filter rod in a car. What would it filter? How would it work?