Did you guess the purpose of the little acorn correctly?
Thank you all for being such good sports and participating in the fun and games of guessing the purpose of my diminutive nineteenth century ebony treen acorn which I recently acquired in England. I greatly enjoyed reading your thoughts on the mystery object's function, and how you settled upon your conclusions.
Several of you guessed that the acorn is a child's toy, much in the vein of a spinning top, and I can see why:
A nineteenth century boxwood spinning top
Others thought that perhaps its purpose is related to spinning yarn, like the vintage wooden spindle seen below:
A few of you reckoned that the acorn's cap is removable, which it is. The cap is indeed threaded and requires unscrewing from the acorn. Now that we've established the acorn is hollow, we can deduce that it is designed as a receptacle. But, a receptacle for what exactly? Let's continue examining the other suggestions put forth.
When I published my post I fully expected at least one of my clever readers to posit the acorn to be a nutmeg grater. I was proved correct when "columnist" threw his hat into the ring. You can see why below:
A handsome nineteenth century treen nutmeg grater
Georgian nutmeg graters were often fashioned in the form of an acorn, constructed of either silver or turned wood. Although I have often fancied owning - and using - such a grater, I have yet to find just the right one to haul home. When I do, of course, you'll be the first to know about it. In fact, when I initially laid eyes upon the treen acorn, I too believed it to be a nutmeg grater. Looks can be so terribly deceiving at times.
A recurring theme throughout the comments was that the acorn is a receptacle for smelling salts or snuff. While certainly a plausible theory, considering the nineteenth century's obsession with noses, the true purpose of the acorn has yet to be revealed. Let's keep going.
"Kindly pass the smelling salts madam, I can barely share the same air as those unshod feet!"
For those of you that guessed "a sewing kit" or "a needle case", you came so very close! Alas, the two inch acorn can neither accommodate the length of a needle nor nestle multiple sewing accoutrements within its hollow.
It does, however, conceal a lone related object, and here it is:
Aha! It's a thimble case
Photo: Chronica Domus
Bravo to Janet, Janie, and Jim for correctly guessing the purpose of the mystery treen object. Please, do feel free to take a well-deserved bow.
The thimble is elegantly concealed within the hollow treen acorn
Photo: Chronica Domus
Thank you all once again for participating in what I hope has been an entertaining and enlightening post on a charming and handsome domestic object, long ago made by caring hands. I have considered adding the thimble case to my sewing kit, but find it's beauty too captivating to squirrel away in a box that rarely sees the light of day. Better, I think, to have it rest within a saucer that is placed upon a side table in our drawing room. That way it might just catch the eye of one of our guests and become the focus of an amusing guessing game. Would you not agree?