Thursday, July 28, 2011

19th Century Finds

I recently paid a visit (virtually) to Ken Spelman rare books in York, England. In addition to the shelves and shelves of books, were drawings, prints, ephemera, and some unusual objects.

These Victorian word wheels date from, c.1870. The star-shaped cutouts, are handwritten on both sides, with slogans relating to love and fortune. I’m not quite sure how they worked, but apparently the string (that’s tangled around the one on the left) was for spinning the wheel.

Brass stencils, probably used by a surveyor, chart-maker, or architect. These pictured, are from a collection of 91 pieces. Many include the folded paper ‘envelope.’

Mahogany box with original watercolor cakes and china mixing dishes. I wonder if this set was American--there is no “u” in the word “colors.”

Until self-adhesive envelopes were introduced in the mid-19th Century, medallion wafers were used for sealing documents. They were discs made from a paste that included flour. As explained here, in detail, “the wheat gluten, when hydrated, dries to becomes an excellent adhesive.”

I love the scale on this marbled paper—the large shapes on a fairly small book.

Wooden star most probably for inlay work, c. 1830.

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