If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But with a proper arsenal of work equipment, you can approach any problem in a variety of ways. The sign of a good tool is that it does the job it was built for very well. But you’d be surprised by just how specialized they can get. It’s mind-boggling!

The r/specializedtools subreddit is a fascinating online community that documents some of the most bizarre, most niche tools that have ever been created. From steno machines and nuclear power plant demolishers to cyanometers (which measure the blueness of the sky) and beyond, it’s seriously incredible to see how inventive humankind can get. It’s so fascinating to learn all about the inventions and we couldn’t help but share the most interesting pics with you, dear Pandas.

Scroll down, upvote the pics that impressed you, and let us know which of these tools wowed you the most. Were there any that you knew about? Were you surprised to learn about any of these? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so grab your digital ink quills and swing by the comments. Meanwhile, you’ll find Bored Panda’s previous article about the sub right here.

#1 Scania P360 With A Penetrating “Scorpion Stinger” That Can Penetrate A Building To Deliver Water Directly Into A Fire Without Putting Firefighters In Danger

Image credits: Love4BlueMoon

#2 Beach Cleaning Robot Designed To Pick Up Small Pieces Of Garbage Hidden Beneath The Sand!

Image credits: Zblb

#3 The Cyanometer. A 230 Year Old Tool Used To Measure The Blueness Of The Sky

Image credits: mks113

Most of these tools are interesting because they’re very rare. Or, rather, only people in very specific fields get to see and use them on a regular basis. For the rest of us, it’s like a visit to a museum full of (slightly alien) artifacts.

However, you could probably argue that every single profession demands that people use specialized tools (or, in this day and age, software, too). When you sit down and have a good long think, you might realize that you do a lot of things every day that most people have no clue about. You, on the other hand, are so used to it all that you barely notice it. We’re all experts in our own little fields. And our tools are unlike anyone else’s. 

#4 A Sliding Chair To Help Disabled People Into The Sea

Image credits: The_good_kid

#5 A Shoe Testing Machine From The 1940s

Image credits: jonpeeji

#6 Cleaning The Solar Panels

Image credits: astorres6030

The r/specializedtools subreddit is massively popular. Created in mid-February of 2015, it has grown a lot in the nearly-8 years since its founding. At the time of writing, the community was home to nearly 1.6 million redditors.

The unusual photos are probably what draws people in. After all, it’s hard to resist finding out the story behind some mysterious object that comes across our internet feeds. It’s like a splinter in your mind: you have to figure out what it is, what it does, and why it looks like it does. Curiosity is a very human emotion—and it’s a difficult beast to control.

#7 This Thing To Clean A Kitchen Hand Whisk

Image credits: mangowhymango

#8 The Spider, An Aerial Lift For Getting Into Tight Spots

Image credits: Troooper0987

#9 This Is A Steno Machine, Used For Recording Words Verbatim At Speeds Over 225 Words Per Minute. Used In Court Rooms And Legal Depositions

Image credits: Polygraph-Eyes7

The team of moderators who run the whole show has a small list of rules that the community members should follow. You would think that people would only post specialized tools on a subreddit that’s called r/specializedtools. Alas! That’s not the case. Some folks either post pics without any tools or share photos of tools that aren’t specialized.

However, tools don’t have to have just a single purpose. You should be fine as long as you don’t post something generic like a computer that can complete a seemingly endless number of tasks. In short: the more niche, the better.

#10 A Tool For Testing Smoke Alarms. It Covers The Unit Snugly Then Releases A Puff Of Smoke, From There A Bloke On The Control Panel Can Tell Whether It Is Working Properly Or Not

Image credits: A_Cat_Named_Frank

#11 A Stainless Steel Pallet Jack For Use Inside Clean Rooms

Image credits: PENISFIRE

#12 Remote-Controlled Special Excavator To Demolish Cooling Towers Of Nuclear Power Plants

Image credits: Peisis

Moreover, the sub’s mod team asks its members to avoid reposting photos that have been recently shared by other redditors. There’s also no room for any offensive content. Treat others kindly, be polite.

Meanwhile, when making a post, be sure to explain exactly what the tool or device does. Don’t opt for clickbait. Oh, and don’t use the subreddit as a means of promoting any products that you sell or profit from.

#13 This Truck For Servicing Street Lamps

Image credits: sp00nix

#14 Temporary Traffic Light

Image credits: RinShimizu

#15 Jig For Chalking The Hip And Waist Widths For The Pleated Section Of A Kilt. Also Has Guide Lines For Accurate Alignment To The Tartan Pattern

Image credits: micasa_es_miproblema

You could argue that without tools, we aren’t human. However, there are quite a few species that actually use tools as they see fit. For instance, chimpanzees are capable of making spears to hunt other primates.

Meanwhile, orangutans have been known to make improvised whistles from bundles of leaves in the wild. They use these to ward off predators, according to Live Science.

#16 A Whole Set Of Non-Sparking Beryllium Copper Wrenches For Working With Hydrogen. Anyone Want To Guess The Cost?

Image credits: Poofengle

#17 Network Cable Comber

Image credits: mitchellrj

#18 Ruler My Allergist Used For Measuring Welts On My Arm After An Allergy Test

Image credits: pestyfinesty

However, it’s not just primates and apes that can use tools. Crows, for example, craft their feathers, twigs, and leaves into tools. They’re also known to drop stones in pitchers to raise the water level inside of them so they can have a drink.

#19 Paper Crumpler For Padding Boxes To Ship

Image credits: SandPaperPocketPussy

#20 Mountain Index For Identifying Nearby Peaks In Rocky Mountain Np

Image credits: youngrichyoung

#21 DIY Door Painting Frame

Image credits: DodgyUsername

Meanwhile, elephants, dolphins, octopi, and otters are also known to use tools for getting rid of pests, uncovering prey underwater, for shelter, and cracking open shells, respectively.

So while the tools that we use are far, far more complex than what can be found in the animal kingdom, we also shouldn’t imagine that human beings hold a monopoly on them.

#22 Star Apple Parer And Slicer, 1871. One Of Three Known To Exist

Image credits: ajcpullcom

#23 This Elevator That My Installation Crew Is Using To Hoist Photovoltaic Panels Up To The Second Story Rooftop

Image credits: na3than

#24 Met A Truffle Hunter In The Peloponnese Mts. And Got A Chance To Snap A Pic Of His Truffle Shovels! The Flat One Is For White Truffles Which Tent To Grow In Softer Soil, And The More Spear Shaped Is For Black Truffles Which Are Found Deeper And In More Rocky Soil

Image credits: flex_inthemind

Our ancient ancestors developed the first stone tools at least 2.6 million years ago. The Smithsonian explains that during the Early Stone Age, early humans made hammerstones, stone cores, and shark stone flakes.

1.76 million years ago, these evolved into handaxes and other large cutting tools.

#25 An Optical Inspection Train

Image credits: dontbreaththis

#26 Non-Metallic Pliers For Pulling Fuses

Image credits: Fingalien

#27 Large Wave Flume At A Wave Research Lab

Image credits: aloofloofah

By the Middle Stone Age, 200,000 years ago, the range of tools exploded in its variety. Suddenly, you could find spears and scrapers for preparing hide, wood, and other materials. By the Later Stone Age, people began using more diverse crafting materials. From bone and ivory to antlers and stone. Different groups began developing their own specific cultures and ways of making things.

#28 Pickle Lifter. It Came Inside The Jar

Image credits: mkvelash

#29 Hollowing Out A Clogg

Image credits: FandRB

#30 Huge Bottoming Drill-Tap We Made Today

Image credits: lsmith1988

#31 Brand New C2 Cable Lasher For Affixing Cables To Strand On Telephone Poles. Custom Stickers For Fun

#32 Cleaning Out Nanna’s House And Found This. It’s Used To Hold Slices Of Cheese

#33 This Dolly Can Only Lift Those Buckets And Nothing Else

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Author: Indrė Lukošiūtė