1. The heat is a byproduct, not its intended function. Its a rheostat. It reduces voltage. Power comes in one cord where the resistors reduce voltage (which creates heat) and the output voltage is reduced.

  2. It seems small for a room heater, the size is about right for some sort of pot or cup heater. Except, neither of the sides look like they were designed to place something on it. I also wonder why a separate female plug has been spliced into the power cable as well. If it is a heater of some sort, I also think that the lever controls the heat output along what might be the coils.

  3. I'm pretty sure the lever controls the output voltage to the socket (using the coils for resistance). The plug goes into the wall. Ventilated case, because it will generate some heat. Probably for lighting.

  4. It looks like some kind or heater for warmth or maybe cooking. Now looking at all the photos, it may be used like a modern day hair wax warmer.

  5. If it doesn't get really hot, just warm, it might be like the Goldenrod heater, designed to keep condensation out of closets, drawers or safes. It would get about 100 degrees, just enough to keep condensation out.

  6. It may be a rheostat. It will change the output voltage depending on the position of the switch. The things that look like heating elements are resistors. Pull the wire and you change the resistance of the device which changes the voltage coming out of it.

  7. Old coffee mug heater? I have one that looks just like this but without the …patina. Edit: mine only has one cord. So my educated guess is not educated at all.

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