A metal optical illusion next to your meal

No, these are not what you think they are.

They look like objects you'd find in a workshop, but these are actually two common things you'd want to find and use while sitting at a dinner table, at least if you don't have problems with sodium.

They're actually stainless steel
salt and pepper shakers.

You twist them to get at the seasonings. They're actually built like springs and are not solid bolts.

They're deceptive and interesting, and yet there's reality. Sean Michael Ragan bought these for a gift at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art because they looked cool. However, he discovered something while using them:
To begin with, they are scarcely identifiable as salt and pepper shakers to a person uninitiated in their use. Guests have to ask for instructions if they want salt or pepper. Secondly, they hold miniscule amounts of their respective spices. Refilling them requires a small funnel or a weighing paper or some other extra tool to pour into the narrow channel of the spring. Finally, they don't work very well: To dispense salt, for example, one bends the spring to one side, thereby opening gaps between the coils, and shakes some out. This takes some finesse because if you don't bend enough, nothing comes out, and if you bend too much, too much comes out. To add insult to injury, salt and pepper tend to get stuck in between the coils when sideways pressure is released. This prevents the spring from returning completely to its straight "screwmorphic" shape and thoroughly ruins the illusion. So you have to wipe or scrape them off after each use to dislodge the trapped grains of spice.
For those wanting function over form, may I suggest these:

Look like bolts, really are fake, 
dispense salt and pepper, 
no bending required.

- Biegsie Salt and Pepper Shakers, Mocha>>
- Sean Michael Ragan - design gaffes at >>
- Bolt Salt and Pepper Shakers, Lazybone>>

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