Archive for April, 2013


This week’s mystery object is a foot warmer, also called a foot stove. They were placed under a woman’s skirts or under lap robes or a blanket. They were a welcomed source of heat on a cold carriage ride, during a religious service, or even at home.


There is some debate as to how these were heated. Most researchers believe that hot coals or embers were placed inside the smaller inner box. The punched holes allow the heat to escape and oxygen to enter the warmer to keep the coals alive. Some people, however, think that the punched designs are simply decorative and the warmer was heated with hot stones.

Some warmers actually do contain slabs of soapstone; some of these stones even have wire wrapped around them to serve as handles. But does that mean that only stones were used? What about the inner tin pans?


What do you think?

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This week’s mystery object is often referred to as a miser’s purse. The slit in the center allowed for coinage to be easily placed inside; the sliding rings secured the coinage into two different groups. This could be used to segregate coins of a lesser value from those of greater value or to separate money belonging to different individuals.  Notice that each end of the purse is decorated with a different fringe. The reason for this asymmetrical design is to help the user retrieve the coin from the proper side.

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