The Mechanism can only be activated with an Attunement Sphere that can be obtained during the quest "Discerning the Transmundane." Once activated, the Mechanism rotates and unlocks a stairwell beneath it that leads to the ancient Dwemer ruins of Blackreach. These Mechanisms seem to be the only way to access Blackreach.
A similar-looking Mechanism can be found north of Winterhold, inside Septimus Signus's Outpost. This Mechanism unlocks a large Dwemer lockbox which contains the Oghma Infinium, the artifact of the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora.
Another Dwarven Mechanism can be found at the Ruins of Bthalft. Before the quest "Lost to the Ages" is completed, the Mechanism has a strange astrolabe present on the dais in the middle. After the quest is finished, a Dwarven elevator replaces the astrolabe and dais, allowing access to the Aetherium Forge. Even before the quest is complete, attempting to activate the Mechanism will cause any Aetherium Shards in the Dragonborn's inventory to be placed on the Mechanism. However, since the quest is not complete, the Dragonborn will not have all four shards, so the forge cannot be accessed. Moreover, the shards placed on the Mechanism cannot be removed, but their absence from the Dragonborn's inventory prevents them from continuing the quest.
- A Dwemer scholar, Thelwe Ghelein, managed to decipher the ancient Dwemer phrase "FalZhardum Din" that he found on several of these ornate metal frames. It translated to "Blackest Kingdom Reaches," which of course alludes to Blackreach.