Antique Treen Pocket Nutmeg Graters

There's a smell of spices in the air at this time of the year with the baking of Christmas cakes, stollen, mince pies, reaching for the nutmeg inspired me to write about nutmeg graters which were so popular in the 18th and early 19th century. These small treen items were carried about in peoples pockets on a day to day basis when spiced mulled wine was a popular drink. They all unscrew to reveal a small storage area for the nutmeg along with the grater, very ingenious! Treen nutmeg graters were made in a variety of shapes the most popular being barrels,( these can vary in size and a few had mosaic lids and were made in the Tunbridge Wells area), acorns and buckets made from coquilla nutshell, and bottles. The bottles took on the shape of the wine bottle of the period. Rarer shapes can be found occassionally including shoes and even fruit. The fun of collecting treen nutmeg graters is that different shapes or variations on a theme do turn up, I saw recently an acorn nutmeg grater which instead of unscrewing at the top unscrewed in the middle a small variation but very unusual. Bigger treen nutmeg graters were made for the kitchen and are highly collectable, but for me its the small pocket ones, I like the thought of grating the nutmeg into a steaming cup of mulled wine!

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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: