Antique Treen Lemon Squeezers
Lemons were imported to England from at least the 1600s. They are believed to be native to South Asia, although there have been links to the true home of lemons being North East India, Assam. Lemons were used as ornamental plants and for medicine as far back as 1174 in Egypt and more recently in the Georgian period it was known that adding lemon juice to sailors diet prevented scurvy.
There are three types of antique treen lemon squeezers. A screw action, a scoop and a lever. The lever examples are more functional than decorative, but the other two examples are tactile and decorative.
The boxwood example photographed above, was made from the mid 1800s. The top unscrews, the handle is attached to a long screw with a disc at the ending allows the juice to run through the spout at the base. This urn-shaped style appears to nearly always be made in boxwood, and one pictured in the book Treen for the Table has a maker or retailers mark on it BB Wells, West Strand. This style may have only been made by the one workshop as the style doesn't vary much and not many are seen.
The scoop type on the other hand has been made from the 18th to the 21st century in a variety of woods and subtle differences. This particular example, shown in the images, has a small head compared with most and could actually be for squeezing limes rather than lemons. Below shows a more typical example of an antique treen lemon squeezer with a bigger head scoop along side the smaller one.
They both have great colour and date from the early 1800s. They are interesting items to collect and look great when you have a few different examples in a variety of woods, with subtle differences to the handles etc.