Well, my whole host of visitors and lurkers were unable to guess this...I'm surprised.
It is one of my most favourite garage sale (car boot sale, for Snafu) acquisitions.
I bought it last month, brand new still in its wrapping, for one dollar.
It hails from the 1970s, although there are updated versions around.
It has been a tremendous aide to my morning routine
Hot Rollers! Only, the travelling kind....
Comes in a nice travelling case
The rollers are placed on the metal posts (it's electric) and they take two minutes to heat up.
Then you roll them in your hair, using special clips (forgot to take a photo of them, but you get the picture!)
-- for someone like me with frizzy hair, it's a boon, because they take all the frizzes out.
(I know Snafu doesn't have that problem, but he might be impressed with the invention!)
I guess I will need to make my "what is it" a little easier next time - but thanks for trying!