Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Treen Mystery Object Revealed

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:

Chronica Domus
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:

Chronica Domus
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.

Chronica Domus
"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:

Chronica Domus
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.

Chronica Domus
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?

24 comments:

  1. CD, these charming treasure hunt intriques arise from what was no doubt a celebrated schoolgirlhood vanquishing sausage-curled nemesis during Tuesday morning 'Show & Tells'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello GSL,

      Perhaps the real issue is that poor old CD never had 'Show and Tells' at school in England. I adore the American concept though and hope that by now British classrooms have caught on.

      Delete
    2. ...that is quite a shame as a young CD lugging in Frankenstein fruit, leper colony carrots, hair art, and other crime scene evidence would have livened up Tuesday mornings...were you a clasdmate of GSL's, sausage curled nemesis would still be sleeping with a nightlight...

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    3. Goodness! I can only imagine the type of antics I missed not having had the privilege of being a classmate of GSLs. Sucha pity.

      Delete
  2. Hello CD, The field of sewing provides so many beautiful objects for collectors. It must have helped to enliven the task.

    With your background, how appropriate that you have such an intriguing sewing-related object to display. About the guests who might still have to guess at it--shame on them for not reading your blog!
    --Jim

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jim,

      Congratulations for solving the acorn puzzle correctly.

      I don't collect sewing related objects, although the few I do own (and use) are rather handsome. I suppose this one grabbed my attention as not only does it satisfy my fondness for acorns, but because I'm a bit partial to thimbles having seen so many of my father's around the house growing up.

      We are expecting dinner guests tomorrow evening and I look forward to playing the guesing game with them. Most of my friends have not a clue I lurk behind this blog.

      Delete
  3. Well I never...it's certainly very pretty. I too have long hankered after a nutmeg grater; in the absence of one, I use the small grater that works well for grating Parmesan too.

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    Replies
    1. Hello columnist,

      I hope you were as surprised as I to discover the acorn was not a nutmeg grater.

      Delete
  4. It is gorgeous and kudos to those who got it right!!! Another one please CD - I love a quiz

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    Replies
    1. Hello Naomi,

      Well then, if you insist. I really must look around and come up with another quiz soon. They really are such fun!

      Delete
  5. Simply marvelous, standing ovation for the bright minds!

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    Replies
    1. Hello The Hunting House,

      I truly enjoyed delving into the minds of all of my readers' suggestions and how they settled upon their conclusion. As you can see from the photographs I selected to illustrated the most popular guesses, each suggestion was quite plausible.

      Thanks for jumping in and playing. CD does so love a good game every now and then.

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful piece! Great find.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen Lawrence. Glad you like it.

      Delete
  7. You have a keen and discerning eye. I'm eager to see what calls to you next.

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    Replies
    1. What a lovely compliment, especially so as it comes from you, one of the three readers to have guessed the correct purpose of the little acorn. Congratulations, by the way! This was not an easy one.

      Delete
  8. Charming---and quite the clever "reveal," with our Mme. Poirot gathering all the suspects in the library and enumerating their whereabouts and wherefores, before the VOILA! moment of denoue.

    Quite fun, for I'm a puzzle-person, though my spatial and numbers skills leave much to be desired, and though I'm one of your most chronologically advanced readers, this was a bit above my knowledge of such yesteryear devices. Perfect in every way---shape, size, workmanship and finish.

    What a lucky lady to have had such a beautiful convenience in her workbasket. And all those who owned all the above-suggested amenities, as well. Do muse on her life sometime---the days of embroidery in the morning room, the evening's silk-work in the parlor, or that first Sampler, stitched by young, learning hands, and now the prize possession of her Great-Great-Great descendants.

    (Did I ever tell you that my own ancestor was transported for the theft of two nutmegs in the 1600s?---that's a bit of family lore that I unearthed a couple of years ago, and think of often).

    r

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello racheld,

      It is rather fun to imagine where the little acorn started life, and to whom it belonged.

      I loved your ancestral story of the nutmeg thief. Might I ask to where he or she was "transported"? Do please spill the beans. What a wonderful story this is, at least from the details you've already revealed.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for asking; here's a bit from LT years ago:

      http://lawntea.blogspot.com/2009/11/two-nutmegs-and-pound-of-gingerbread.html

      And the follow-up post later:

      http://lawntea.blogspot.com/2009/11/destinies.html

      Ah, the Past---how it follows us.

      r

      Delete
    3. Thanks, racheld, I look forward to reading these posts and the intriguing story of the nutmeg thief.

      Delete
  9. Ah the mystery has been solved. Perhaps we can name this lovely object Thumbelina.
    Looking forward to more of CD's antique mysteries.
    BarbG

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    Replies
    1. Hello BarbG,

      That's an excellent idea, thank you. Henceforth, the little acorn shall be named Thumbelina. Now, why can't I get that tune out of my head?

      ...Thumbelina, Thumbelina tiny little thing, Thumbelina dance, Thumbelina sing ...

      Delete
  10. Sweet little item! I remember there was one of these in my family home but it was empty - so I wouldn't have been able to guess !

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jenny Woolf,

      Well then, I am so pleased I was able to help solve the mystery of what it was that once graced the interior of your thimble case.

      Thank you for your comment and I do very much hope you come back again.

      Delete

Please do leave a comment as I enjoy the dialogue with my readership, thank you.

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