Archive for May, 2012

These triangular pieces of bone were used to help babies throught the teething process. Each one is carved along one side with a different pattern-hash marks, saw-like teeth (rough but not sharp), and notches. Early teething tools were also made from coral and metal. I image the cool, hard surfaces were considered desirable.

Hope you had fun figuring this one out!

Read Full Post »

This lovely calling card case, which is made from carved ivory, was brought back from China by York resident Louise Caroline (Wilcox) Putnam (1822-1894) whose husband was involved with the China trade.

Card cases were used to hold calling or visiting cards. Etiquette required that a person could not just drop by and see someone without first leaving a card with the initiator’s name on it at the home of the second person. The person who initiated the contact would later receive a calling card at his home to indicate an acceptable time to come for a visit. On the other hand, if no card card was returned, he could assume that a personal visit was not desired.

Card cases from the 18th and 19th centuries are often from China; it is believed that the practice of using calling cards commenced in China. They are still used today in Japan, given directly by someone to encourage a future get-together or correspondence.

Calling cards have been largely replaced today by business cards.

Read Full Post »

This hand carved piece of wood was used to mark out where one would place stitches for making a quilt. You can get the idea by looking at this detail of a circa 1790-1810 whole cloth quilt from Old York’s collection:Although such stamps were not necessary, they would be a great assistance in making whole cloth quilts like this one whose only decorative feature would be the quilting.

Read Full Post »

The brass metalwork of this brooch was originally covered with a vibrant blue inlay made not of turquoise as many of you guessed, but butterfly wings!

Using butterfly wings in jewelry was very popular during the 1920s until WWII, with a slight revival in the 1960s. Fortunately, it is not commonly used today!

Thank you for participating!

Read Full Post »