A Mystery for the Engineers among Our Readers, or for All of Those Predisposed to Speculate


About a week ago, Business Insider reported that the Arizona Highway Department had found a mysterious device at the edge of field along a highway.

Here are the clues provided by the device itself and a summary the initial speculation about its most likely purpose:

1. It is made of solid steel.
2. It has metal tags that say “Set bottom of scale to top punch entry,” “Upper punch penetration,” and, “Tablet thickness.”
3. It has wheels with numbers engraved in them.
4. It appears to be custom made.

Some people have guessed that it’s part of a tablet press used for manufacturing drugs — pills — or a progressive printing press, the transportation department told Business Insider. Those are still just guesses, however, and the transportation department is working to verify those claims.

Why someone believes that it might be a “progressive printing press” seems to me to…

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