Tools of the Trade for Teachers

Back in the 19th century teachers had some interesting items for discipline in schools. Two items are illustrated here.

Firstly, the image above is of some children's finger stocks... These were used in the 18th and 19th century and are described in an article known as the 'Penrose Method,' which was a description of the theory and practice of education at the academy run by Dr and Mrs Penrose in the Victorian times.

Most of their punishments were with the objective of keeping wayward children immobile: each child would be in a position of discomfort depending on how badly they had behaved.

The finger stocks were relatively minor. The child's fingers were placed into the holes of the stocks with the child's hands back to back behind their back. They were then expected to stand before the teacher and repeat the lesson that they had failed.

Other items used by the Penroses were wooden gags, wrist or arm stocks, strap and wood restraining harnesses to name a few.

On a lighter note, the second picture is of the teacher's clicker, clicket or snapper. These were used to catch the attention of distracted pupils. By applying pressure and then quickly releasing the trigger, a click would be produced.This is an earlier example where the trigger is held to the head by a leather/gut loop, later examples were spring loaded. How times have changed...

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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.


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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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