Antique Treen Nutcrackers


Nuts go back a long way in history. There is evidence of nut processing which dates back as far as 8,000 years: a wide shallow pit on an island off Scotland was found full of the remains of hundreds of thousands of burned hazelnut shells. Hazelnuts have been found, but rarely in such quantities or concentrated in one pit. These nuts were dated through analysis. Similar sites in Britain are known only at Farnham in Surrey and one on the Isle of Man.


Nuts go back a long way in history. There is evidence of nut processing which dates bever passing through a mortice in the front of the figure, the two levers pivot together with an iron pin. The one illustrated b is a primitive 19th century example made from a soft wood.

Although striking a nut shell was probably the earliest form, they are still made today. Levers came next and there are some early examples with dates, which are so important to help us date other examples. In Pinto's book he mentions a lever example dated as early as 1570.

The lever nutcrackers are constructed with the back lever passing through a mortice in the front of the figure, the two levers pivot together with an iron pin. The one illustrated below is a primitive 19th century example made from a soft wood.



Some non-figural lever nutcrackers are constructed from one piece of wood as illustrated here. This is a 19th century yew wood example and has the maker's name 'G Clark' on it.



There is a large variety of screw action nutcrackers and some of the simplest were the small pocket ones. Two examples illustrated here date from the early 1800s. One has a carved handle, normally they are plain and sometimes you can see small dents in the handle where the user has used their teeth to help crack the nuts.



Dated early nutcrackers can cost thousands of pounds as few survived intact; levers were broken and the rest of the nutcracker was used as firewood. They are plenty of other, more affordable, nutcrackers to look out for: just within the screw action ones each piece varies in wood, date, ownership, inscription, handles etc.

There are a wide range of other novelty European ones to look out for, so get cracking!

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OPUS ANTIQUES
 
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

ANTIQUE TREEN

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:  sally.honey@icloud.com