Archive for March, 2013


This week’s mystery object, also known as a squirrel cage swift, was used to wind and unwind skeins of yarn smoothly. The long slot allows for multiple positions of the cages and accommodate various skein sizes. This is a great tool for changing skeins into balls, bobbins, cones or spools. It dates from the mid 19th century.

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This week’s mystery object was made by J.M. Grosvenor & Company of Boston, MA. This particular device was patented by 1885. Saucer shaped rice-flour disks known as “Konseals” were pressed into the perforations on the cover and base plates, while the shield plate was folded back over to protect the sealing edges of the Konseals in the base plate. The Konseals in the base plate were filled with powdered drugs with the help of special funnels and tamped down with thimble compressors (missing in this example). The shield plate was lifted, and a moistened roller passed over the edges of the empty Konseals in the cover plate, which was covered over the base plate, sealing the Konseals. The Konseals were made of thinner material than ordinary cachets so the finished product was less bulky and neater in appearance.


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