1989: I keep thinking that it's a rack that holds smoking pipes, and
that the center item is a humidor. The rubber stamp holder sounded
pretty good, but it looks to me that the slots are too small in
diameter to pass the handles.
The height of the beast would seem to rule out being a holder for either
rubber stamps or pipes. At 21" tall, that pretty much precludes use _on_
a desk (or a fireplace mantel, for that matter); it about has to sit on the
It _is_ abut the right size to hold a set of fire-place tools, *BUT* I've
never seen a set with _ten_ items.
A slot leading to a hole suggests hanging an item that's bigger than the
hole at each end and thinner than the slot in the middle. The middle
could be a cord or wire or rod or chain, for example.
If the table is 21" high, that could be a convenient height for a
sitting person, and the hanging items could be much shorter.
The shelf sticks out where somebody might kick it. Perhaps it sticks
out to hold a cloth to catch drips from the hanging items.
I don't assume it's a box on the table. If the ring were to lift the
lid, wouldn't there be hinges on the near side? Wouldn't a drawer work
better? It could be opened without disturbing items on top. The top is
marred like a work surface. Is the ring to hang the table on a wall to
Perhaps it's a table to work on an item with ten pieces that can be
hung. Perhaps they are hung to keep them sorted by length, to prevent
damage, or to prevent tangling. Perhaps they are hung to dry after
washing, oiling, or painting.
1989 - I had thought umbrella holder (not large enough, though), a
utensil holder and wine glass holder (with coasters under that
"lid"). Though the subsequent pic seems to show it hanging outside, I
don't think it is/was used outdoors.... that clearcoat finish wouldn't
hold up. I'm supposing it is for light, domestic, indoor use.
Another thought: Possibly, some kind of knick knack shelf that was
once part of another piece.... like treadle sewing machine drawer
framing, removed from an old sewing machine cabinet, and used as a
wall mounted knick knack shelf for small collectibles. From what
original piece it may have come from, if so, I don't have a clue.
I liked the fly rod holder suggestion, too, but it just doesn't seem
large enough or heavy/stable enough for that junction.
The slots appear to be 1/8" wide. Big enough for a wire, cord, small
chain, or slender rod.
The holes appear to be 3/10". The center-to-center distance appears to
be about 5/8".
I think it was to hang ten items made with wire, chain, cord, or rods
less than 1/8" in diameter. Whether or not the fitting at the top end
was a bead, it must have been larger than 0.3" and smaller than 5/8".
The items would have been less than 18" long from the bead, for the top
of the bottom shelf appares to be less than 18" from the top of the holes.
The top appears to be 13" wide and the shelf 17" wide. There must have
been a reason to have the shelf jut out where it could be kicked. I
wonder if it was to make it easy to place a pan or cloth to catch drips
from the hanging items.
The marred block on top suggests to me that the work involved tapping.
I'm trying to guess what items would have teen tapped, treated with a
liquid, and hung up ten at a time. It doesn't seem tall enough for
necklaces, and I don't know of such parts in a musical instrument.
Conventionally, candles were made in pairs with a common wick slung over
a rack. It seems to me that you would have to be slow and careful lest
the candles swing against each other, causing deformation and possibly
I imagine dipping should be as brief as possible. The warmer the candle
got, the less wax it would bring out of the kettle, and the longer you
would have to wait before dipping again.
I think this stand was designed for dipping candles singly, each
suspended from a marble-sized bead. If you didn't have to worry about
knocking candles together, you could dip them very briefly. That would
mean adding more wax per dip and a shorter cycle time.
If I were dipping candles, I might flare the slots toward the edge of
the table, making it a little quicker and easier to slide a wick into a
Normally, perhaps the finish of the table withstood the heat of a kettle
full of wax at the melting point, but sometimes the finish could be
damaged. I think the center of the table was raised so it could be
refinished without refinishing the rest of the tabletop.
What part of the rack is made for decorative form and not function?
Suppose the household needs ten candles a week, made from tallow,
beeswax, or something else. The quickest method would also be the
neatest, by getting the wax to stick to the candle instead of dripping.
Before starting, I'd let the kettle cool on the hearth until the wax
began hardening around the sides. Having it as cool as possible would
help it stick to a candle instead of melting the candle. Then I'd dip
quickly so that the candle would stay as cool as possible so that the
most wax would stick.
The reason to make ten candles at a time would be to allow each candle
plenty of cooling time between dips, without making the candle maker wait.
There would probably be some dripping. To remove hardened wax easily
for reuse, I'd want finished wood, perhaps wiped with oil just before I
With seven big kettles, they must have made hundreds of pounds of
candles at a time. Many of the candles are pointed at the bottom. I
think that means that during dipping, the bottoms tended to overheat.
A small household operation might minimize the problem by dipping
candles quickly, one by one.
Actually they only used one pot. The rest are just decoration. If I
remember correctly the pot was partially filled with water with the
wax floating on top so they wouldn't need so much. There was no real
training one person would just show another how they'd been shown to
do it. It was just done for the tourists. I was taught blacksmithing
there by the farrier. I made shingles there but didn't find out how to
do it right till many years later.
Hot water! I remember making blocks of wax from honeycomb that way.
That could explain why some candles are shaped like carrots. Water
holds a lot of heat. If the end of the candle extended into the water,
it could get especially warm. It wouldn't accumulate much wax.
I think I'd prefer using a small kettle on a little table. I wouldn't
have to do any walking because I could reach all ten candles from my chair.
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