The answer to the mystery? A lid holder for pots and pans. Thanks to Roberta in SF for the much-needed resolution. And thanks to J.M. for the more entertaining — if not ultimately correct — guess of a pantyhose drying rack.
As to the likelihood of my using such an apparatus for the purpose — now revealed — for which it was designed? Zilch. What fun would that be? I’d be eradicating the possibility of fun at home almost entirely! Ah, those priceless moments — a cabinet door is opened, lids fall like snow, the sound of metalware on linoleum echoes merrily throughout the house…
To give such amusement up would be madness.
But who knows? Come summer, maybe I can grow tomatoes on it.