nutcrackers Someone asked me the other day whether they could use their Antique Treen
Nutcracker for cracking nuts. It's a risk these lovely antique nutcrackers have survived so long,( the first dated treen nutcracker is from the 16th century), often vigoursly used so maybe now it's time for just a good polish!! Hazelnuts were the popular nuts in the 18th and early 19th century but they were gathered in the wild and so were much smaller than commercially cultivated one which we have today, hence the opening on screw mechanism antique pocket nutcrackers is usually quite small, early lever nutcrackers were also designed to take a small hazelnut). Theatre goers in the 18th and 19th century enjoyed munching hazelnuts through performances, excavations of some of the London theatres have found piles of hazelnut shells under the floor boards, today it's bags of popcorn eaten at cinemas. Look out for the little indentations on the handles of antique pocket nutcrackers these were teeth marks where extra leverage was needed to crack the nut open. Treen nutcrackers for the pocket were made from a variety of woods boxwood and yew wood with their tight grain were more resistant to cracking than other woods, several different shapes of nutcrackers were produced from barrels to acorns and if your lucky enough to find one with a heart shaped handle it will have been a love token! Happy hunting and spare a thought for the nutcracker next time you are thinking of using it!