Expert consultation needed: what is this thing?

One of the great things about having so many readers for this blog, is the vast range of expertise you can bring in when interesting topics arise.

And so, people with some experience of silver can help me with this.

What is this thing?

I spotted it in a flea market when walking around today.

Does it have something to do with keeping toast or some other breakfasty bready thing warm and perhaps carrying on a service tray?

What is this for and what is it called?

Anyone?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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24 Responses to Expert consultation needed: what is this thing?

  1. momoften says:

    almost looked like a snuff box of some sort, looked that up, but found it is an antique victorian biscuit box…you can see it on http://www.ifranks.com/silverware/biscuit_boxes/j5483.html a description somewhere else read:” opens at the top and folds down to expose two separate chambers that are covered with elegantly pierced grills. You raise the grills to reveal your lovely baked goods which have been kept warm by the hearth! ” interesting and your thought was very close

  2. basilorat says:

    It’s rather Obvious.
    It’s a standard issue coinpurse for every member of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest.

  3. Good one, momoften.

    Bad joke, basilorat!

  4. hawkeye says:

    you could probably use it to hold jams and jellies for breakfast as well. Very nice piece.

  5. Amator says:

    I have seen similar devices at antique road-shows. To my understanding, it is a device for keeping toast warm.

  6. lmgilbert says:

    My mother received one of those for a wedding present many years ago and we always called it “The Soup Tureen,” though obviously it can be nothing of the kind. At the estate sale we discovered that it is actually a bacon warmer.

    Hot water is poured into the receptacle below the tray, the tray put down and hot bacon laid on.

    You wouldn’t want cold bacon, would you?

  7. Fr. Richard says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a high end device for keeping toast warm.

  8. Random Friar says:

    Reminds me of Alton Brown’s mantra: never buy a device or utensil that does just one thing.

  9. FrCharles says:

    RF: except the fire extinguisher! (I’m an Alton fan too) :)

  10. Legisperitus says:

    I would have said a Cyberman’s valise…

  11. It is a ball-hopper for playing Victorian Bingo.

  12. Hmmm… Cybermen… Victorians… Institute of CK… all in one entry. Who knew?

    So… it is a folding biscuit box.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    May I guess that it is a portable strawberries and cream (clotted hard cream) tureen or carrier for posh picnics. Scones would be in another container. Could be used on the English sideboard for breakfast. We still use the term sideboard in our house.

  14. I am thinking that this was a thing brought in on a tea tray or a breakfast tray. It would contain biscuits or scones or toast, etc.

    It seems to be identifiable as a “folding biscuit box”.

  15. edwardo3 says:

    Toast servers are usually open racks on a flat tray, but this could be for scones/biscuits. As for the coinpurse, the ICKSP would have them in vermiel. The best place to check and see what it may really be is Replacements Ltd.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Ah, you are correct, Father Z. There are such folding biscuit boxes at the following locations:

    http://www.saanjhi.com/products/Antique-Victorian–Sterling-Silver-folding-biscuit/p_10239?atc=gbslv

    http://www.saanjhi.com/products/Victorian-Sterling-Silver-shell-folding-biscuit-bo/p_10242?atc=gbslv

    I was confusing it with this Victorian Folding Strawberry Set

    An unusual design antique silver plated strawberry server with sugar bowl and cream jug. When not in use the set can be folded away. Lovely art nouveau design. Circa 1900. Maker Fenton, Russel & Co, Edinburgh. http://www.waxantiques.com/servingdishes.htm

  17. Supertradmum says:

    Curious, how much was it selling for?

  18. Fuquay Steve says:

    I believe it’s for kippers. Ask Fr. Longenecker.

  19. Random Friar says:

    FrCharles: what Alton does not mention is that a good C02 extinguisher can be used as an emergency chiller. CO2 comes out at approximately -110F (although quickly disperses in air). Need a good beer chilled?

    That said, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, KIDS! (And it’s expensive to keep refilling, and the fire inspector will give you funny looks when you have so many requests for C02).

  20. Animadversor says:

    I do believe that momoften has it right—it is plainly a biscuit box. It couldn’t be for toast. For that you need a toast rack: http://www.oceanlinermuseum.co.uk/Windsor%20Castle%206%20piece%20toastrack.jpg.
    A toast rack allows air to circulate around the toast, keeping it crisp; it also permits it to cool so as not to melt the butter and so permit the toast to turn into a soggy, oily mess. Putting toast into one of these boxes would just accelerate that process.

  21. Tom Ryan says:

    It’s an early used tea bag holder

  22. Thomas in MD says:

    Which its for the toasted cheese, you slab-sided lubber.

  23. Reginald Pole says:

    Also remember in the UK biscuit = cookie or cracker.

  24. Thomas: Which the silver object for the toasted cheese is for the spirit stove, ain’t it? Does this look like it goes on the spirit stove, ya grass-comber?