What Is It: The Big Reveal

Here are the answers to last week’s mystery objects:

Spoon warmer. 19th century. 2002.0326 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Spoon warmer. 19th century. 2002.0326 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Item number one is a spoon warmer. It would have been filled with hot water and used to keep serving spoons warm so they wouldn’t cool the food while serving. The nautilus form was a very common shape for this device. You can read a bit more about spoon warmers on the Home Things Past blog. (Many thanks to our intern Emily Pazar for her work on this object)

Wick trimmer. 2006.3016. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

The second item is a wick-trimmer; to keep a candle or lamp burning brightly and not smoking it was necessary to trim the wick. The small box on top of the trimmer would collect the wick scraps and if you look closely you’ll notice that the trimmer sits on raised feet, which would keep it off the table when placed down, to protect the surface below it from wax. Wick trimmers are referred to in the Bible in connection with the lamps burning before the ark of the covenant, 2 Chronicles describes “the pure gold wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers.”

Darning egg. 2006.4476. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This wooden device is a double-ended darning egg. A darning egg is inserted into a sock to hold it in position while making darned repairs to the toe or heel.

Joseph Thomas Vancouvenbergh, chocolate pot. Paris, ca. 1775. 1970.3The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Finally, this beautiful silver item is a French chocolate pot. Hot chocolate was a popular beverage in the 18th-century and an important part of the drink was the froth. In order to mix and froth the chocolate a wooden stick called a moulinet (or molinillo in Spanish) was placed through the hole and whirled vigorously. The Jane Austen’s World blog includes a nice discussion of hot chocolate, along with some historic recipes.

So, how did you do?

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

One thought on “What Is It: The Big Reveal

  1. Darning eggs for socks and other general repair are quite a bit larger, more the size of a hen's egg. This one is tiny and I have often wondered what exactly it was intended for. But your post made me think of the fingers of a knitted glove. I have not yet used mine, but most likely will at some point. They came from the collections of deceased grandmothers who taught me to darn & mend.

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