Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spare Parts Building

Our dishwasher began leaking on Thanksgiving night. I was not particularly surprised at this because life has taught me that if you're going to have a domestic disaster it will generally take place during the holidays or some other work-intensive, socially important event. Also, the dishwasher was sixteen years old, ran on unfiltered well water and has been used at least four times a week every week for the last ten years, so it was about due to give up the ghost.

The great thing about immediately needing a new appliance during a holiday is that there are generally some wonderful sales on them, and in no time we found a nicely-priced replacement which my guy and I installed over the weekend. The new dishwasher has more settings and way more energy-efficient than the old one, and runs so quietly I can't tell that it's on. All's well etc.

Last night I came out to borrow my guy's work bench for a few minutes and noticed these two parts that were left over from the new installation:

Normally I don't get very excited about spare parts, but these two made me quite curious. I had no idea what purpose the rings serve -- I'll guess they're some sort of hose clip or clamp -- but the shapes and colors fascinated me. Green for supply/clean water, brown for returned/soiled, maybe? Both rings were made of a single length of wire bent in half with the ends interwoven and crimped into horn-shaped prongs. This kind of object would fit very well into my Toriana universe, but how?

While thinking on that I studied how they were made. The wire used to fashion them was so thick and sturdy I'd need pliers and a vise (as well as much stronger hands) to pull it apart. They'd make very durable eyeglass frames, maybe, for someone with three eyes:

As I fiddled with them I didn't see eyeglass frames, however -- I kept thinking rings of some sort. The wire was too heavy to make them wearable by ladies, of course, but they might work for a man. A man with big hands. Big, strong hands. But why would a man wear two rings with prongs made out of wire so thick it can't be bent without tools? Then I put the rings side by side and finally got it:

The two rings worn together with two others on the same hand would make them pretty awesome brass knuckles. Since they're constructed from a single length of wire any strong-handed soul could fashion them with a custom fit. Clamp some charmed stones in the prongs and I could add a bit of magic to their punch. They'd work perfectly for my character Wrecker, should he need to improvise a weapon quickly, which he will in the next novel.

I still don't know for what or how these spare dishwasher parts are actually supposed to be used, but reinventing them to work in my story was fun and inspirational. Let your curiosity get the better of you sometime and you can do the same.


  1. If you want to know, those are hose clamps. Used to clamp a hose around a nipple. Pop the hood of your car and you'll see a host of them all through the engine compartment (can you tell I was an automotive engineer?). The high spring force means they stay on, especially when the nipple is ribbed.
    That said, I like the idea of enchanted brass knuckles. Particularly if the stones can be changed out, depending on need.

  2. Leave it to you to find two meaningless hose clamps and make them into brass least we hope they're meaningless and not necessary for the new dishwasher! ;D

  3. They're Christmas colors! I've only ever seen them in black. You pinch the prongs together and slip it over the end of your hose, then push the hose on whatever and pinch the ring together then slide it over the connection.

    They looked like two bulls to me at first glance and reminded me of The Story of Ferdinand. I have no idea why. Then I thought of the zodiac symbol Taurus. Weird.