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frobnitz: /frob'nits/, plural `frobnitzem' /frob'nit-zm/ or
   `frobni' /frob'ni:/ [TMRC] n. An unspecified physical object, a
   widget.  Also refers to electronic black boxes.  This rare form is
   usually abbreviated to `frotz', or more commonly to frob.
   Also used are `frobnule' (/frob'n[y]ool/) and `frobule'
   (/frob'yool/).  Starting perhaps in 1979, `frobozz'
   /fr*-boz'/ (plural: `frobbotzim' /fr*-bot'zm/) has also
   become very popular, largely through its exposure as a name via
   Zork.  These variants can also be applied to nonphysical
   objects, such as data structures.

Pete Samson, compiler of the original TMRC lexicon, adds, "Under the TMRC [railroad] layout were many storage boxes, managed (in 1958) by David R. Sawyer. Several had fanciful designations written on them, such as `Frobnitz Coil Oil'. Perhaps DRS intended Frobnitz to be a proper name, but the name was quickly taken for the thing". This was almost certainly the origin of the term.