Riddle for the day - how would you use these objects?

How would you use the item hanging from the beam on the right? The cowbells are a clue.
The photo was taken at the Vieux Chalet restaurant in Gruyere, Switzerland.

Answer: It's a strap on milking stool that leaves hands free and clean. It also cuts down on aching backs and saves time and labor.

The angle of this picture makes it slightly more difficult to figure out the purpose of this object. This large stone structure sits in the center of Gruyere in front of l'Auberge de la Halle, where most commodities were sold. It was also the only establishment that was allowed to sell alcohol.

Here it is from another angle.

It shouldn't be confused with this picture of the toilet bowl on the Swiss Chocolate Train. That has a completely different use!

Answer: They're ancient grain measures. After the opening was closed, grain was poured into the receptacles under the watchful eye of the bailiff to ensure that the merchant didn't cheat his customers. When the bowl was full of grain and level at the top, the hole was unplugged so that the grain could flow into a sack.


  1. I am thinking that the circular constructions may be a form of spittoon, for use after tasting goods!

    1. Thanks for having a go, Baron! Right now I'm imaging a group of men spitting at the spittoon and occasionally missing. Kind of like a circular firing squad! You're correct in thinking that the stone object is used for goods. But what good and for what purpose? I'll put the answers in the body of the post later today.

  2. Ok I will have a go too. difficult to ignore the rude uses these things conjour up!

    Is the first object a stool for milking that you push into the ground, and the stone "bowls" are for pouring milk into churns?

    Love Denise

    1. Ha! Thanks for keeping the blog family friendly, Denise! Knowing your creative mind, I can't even begin to imagine the uses that you came up with.

      Congratulations for recognizing a milking stool when you see one! The belt is strapped low around someone's waist with the stool jutting out at the back. That way they can move from cow to cow and sit down without having to carry a stool with them. It's quite ingenious.

      Your warmish on the use of the stone funnels. Something is poured into them but not milk.

  3. The trundle (inverted) in the first photo--no real idea. It holds something that hangs, like string maybe.

    The second photo is a size scale, a way of grading the size of an object, say a round of cheese.

    Now, to look to see how I did and if the answers are in the comments.

    1. Well done, Joseph! The ancient measures were a way of ensuring that customers weren't cheated when they purchased grain. I can see why you thought that they were used for cheese because they're about the same size as wheels of Gruyere.


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