Antique Treen Nutcrackers

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!

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We first became involved in Antique Treen and furniture some twenty five years ago and since then a passion for Treen, small wooden snuff boxes and decorative wooden items has developed into Opus Antiques.

This web site shows only a  small selection of our current stock for sale, if you are looking for something you don't see, please contact us.


We are also interested in buying Antique Treen items. As well as using our Contact page, you can also email or telephone us on 07941 285532


The word Treen is derived from the word tree and is a term used to describe wooden household objects, all turned from one piece of wood e.g. a bowl, plate, gingerbread mould, and spoons, always having a function.

Nowadays when we talk about Antique Treen it tends to cover all small wooden items including antique snuff boxes, candle stands, spice towers, etc. often made from several pieces of turned wood.


When a piece of wood has been painstakingly turned or carved, handled, polished and loved over a few hundred years old, it can develop a wonderful colour and patina and becomes an irresistible piece of Antique Treen.

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Address: Bath, Somerset       Contact Telephone: 07941 285532       Email: