Here's the sort of beam I have in mind. If a textile mill has a few
looms ten miles from the main plant, it will want to truck wound beams
without messing up the threads.
If the box was for a beam like this, the notches would be to fit the
hubs, but I think the open ends were to insert and withdraw a shaft used
to hoist it.
Think about it. IF it was used to hold a beam, they'd want to close it
up entirely during shipment to keep trash, vermin, etc., out.
At the receiving end, they'd remove the top and the doors, then insert
the lift spike in through the ends (doors). They have to be there,
because the center of the 'spool' (beam) is below the top of the crate.
Insert spike, lift beam out of the box. Re-install doors, re-install
top, ship empty back to the mill again. There, they remove the top and
doors, lift a beam back into the box, remove spike, reinstall doors and
lid, then ship.
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote the following on 8/12/2012 10:58 AM (ET):
Yeah maybe, but the box doors seem too elaborate for that simple
process. When I first saw the box, I thought it was a magicians prop for
the famous 'cutting a woman in half' trick, but there's no saw slot in
the sides. :-)
It may be that this box started out as something very simply made, but
was customized more than once for other purposes. Like why is the
interior painted black?
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