Monday, March 30, 2009

Can you help me identify these ?

Here are the pictures of some bric-a-brac we found at a sale. They just looked pretty and cost just a few dollars each.. and being collectors that we are , we brought them home hoping to figure out eventually what they would have been doing out there.

Item#A: This one is made of brass (pic above). It is a hollow cylinder with a wooden handle to it. This side, displayed in the picture has a copper patina. The other side of the cylindrical shaft is clear brass-not seen in this picture. The base of the shaft has an outward lip. I figured it would be a candle-mold :-) but couldn't find any similar items on the internet. Joe says it could be some sort of nautical piece, judging by the build. So between a candle-mold and the Titanic's periscope, it could be anything under the Sun! What are your thoughts?

Item#B:This pair of forks/picks came with a set of coasters. There were 8 small coasters with a green marble base, a cork top and a green felt lining in the bottom.Then there were 2 slightly bigger coasters, again with a green-marble base and cork top but no felt lining in the bottom. The set had the 2 chrome forks (shown above) with green marble handles. I am wondering what the forks were doing with the coasters? Are they appetizer-picks ? (That's a more plausible explanation than Titanic's periscope above, but still- why would a set of forks be matched with a set of coasters?)

Item#C: This last one (pic above) is made of wood. It has a flip-top for one half. And a handle on one side. There is a slanted groove inside on both sides ; You can see it in the picture on the left. Rough dimensions are 6" long X 4" wide X 2" tall (at the tallest point). Any idea what this is ?


  1. Top picture-It looks like the lip might have held glass.
    The middle one- fruit bowl (therefore, big coasters), glasses for drinks (smaller coasters) and the forks for the fruit ;)!
    The last one reminds me of a lap desk- i can't tell its size from the picture but I had something similar except the top was fully covered by the wooden lid. I had fun doing that!

  2. Actually, the brass item might very well be a chocolate pot. Usually though, they have lips or spouts. I think the problem actually lies in the fact that it is a part of something, not a thing by itself.

    Yes, you're correct, the little forky thingies are usually used on hors d'ouvres, particularly cheese chunks. I'm betting that it was a complete set with the coasters.

    The wooden thingy is some ways it is similar to berry picking pieces, but it doesn't have the fingers (the combs) and the slant thingy is interesting, and there is usually a handle on the berry things...

    I'm rarely stumped, but I'm stumped on see, I used to be a museum curator so material culture is something I do a lot of....

  3. You are right on Lisa, the forks came with 8 coasters- 2 medium, and 6 small (all green marble with cork tops)- so we've solved that one! Thank You!

    The cylindrical thing is hollow- both ends are open. And yes, this could be a part of something, rather that a "whole thing". Thats a more possible explanation. But still no idea on the use.

    And as far as the wooden thing goes. We still have no clue. I'm even wondering if it could be something that held a bunch of cards/records in some office, that one could load and flip over for quick reference. But that doesnt explain the handle on it- Joe


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