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Author Topic:   wire cutter
ahwt

Posts: 1681
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 02-08-2010 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

The wire cutters above are simply marked Sterling on the handle. I thought initially that they were used to cut the wire on Champagne bottles, but all those wires just twist off and cutting the wire is not necessary. Actually it would make it harder to remove the wire.

Any thoughts on the use of this cutter.

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agleopar

Posts: 745
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 02-09-2010 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are seriously for the person who has everything and now I will believe myself when I tell people that everything has been made in silver!

[This message has been edited by agleopar (edited 02-09-2010).]

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-09-2010 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Victorian orthodontists? Seriously, though--perhaps some luxury object for a fancy lady's hobby, like silk flower making. Hard to imagine what these were for!

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-09-2010 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect that they are used in cutting wooden matches and were part of a cigar set. For really fussy cigar smokers, match heads can leave a hint of sulfur which is not a pleasant taste. The idea was to cut off the match head, light the wooden piece from a candle and then light the cigar from the flaming wood. Devices of this type were still available in the 1970's.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-19-2010 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow. Victorian obsessive behavior to the max!

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agleopar

Posts: 745
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 02-19-2010 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale you are a wise in the ways of silver!

But now the $64 question. What do those smokers ask the butler for when they want to trim their match?

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-19-2010 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They don't ask the butler for anything. The smoking room has what is called a smoking set. It looks like an inkstand with a candle and container for matches or wood splints. The cutter sits on the piece.

It appears to have been customary for some male persuits to not require servants. Liquor was locked and served by the master of the household so that the servants could not have access to it. The smoking set was always ready and required no immediate service.

Men frequently were less observed by servants than women were. I believe Torsten Veblen makes this point in Theory of the Leisure Class. Men had a greater range of autonomy which included freedom from servants' watching and gossiping. Interesting to look at old silver from a gender point of view.

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 02-19-2010 11:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Au contraire! I think it is indeed a champagne cage cutter, called a "coupe-muselet" or "ciseaux de champagne" in French. See the "pince spéciale" link on this interesting history of the wire champagne cage or "muselet". Apparently, they were not always as easy to remove by hand as they are now. Another fancy silver-handled coupe-muselet similar to yours is illustrated on page 278 of David Allan's French Silver Cutlery of the XIX Century (Dijon: Éditions Faton, 2007).

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