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Author Topic:   Whatzit?
Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-06-2003 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This weekend June & I came across this in a dealer's case. We had no idea ... We played the Whatzit guessing game before we asked to see it. Now its your turn. Whatzit?

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 11-06-2003 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cigarette case?
Fred

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-06-2003 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fred,

That is one that we didn't think to consider. I suppose I should have mentioned that when we looked in the dealers case we could see that the box was not silver. Our guess was that it was tin. I suppost if it looked like silver then we would have guessed a cigarette case.

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Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-06-2003 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess is that it contains an accessory for a more valuable item, perhaps a kit for cleaning silver?

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do like the wrong answers. I find the creative guesses are often more interesting than the correct answer. But that just may be my fun. For everyone else I suppose the fun comes from guessing correctly.

When we opened the box this is what we saw:

Then we noticed there was another compartment with leather cloth:

The square cake of soap reminds me of saddle soap. The bristles in the brushes are stitched in place. The dealer felt this kit was for cleaning silver. I suppose it could been but I am not so sure. The kit has been throughly used but things don't look like they are dirty from tarnish. If not for silver then what do you think it was used to clean? (I don't know.)

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The soft bristle brushes are similar to the brushes silversmiths use to clean rouge off silver in a soapy solution.

If the brushes, cloth and bar of soap were rinsed judiciously they might not show the tarnish residue.

This may have been a maintainance cleaning kit that would be used daily by the housecleaning staff.

Fred

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess would be is that this is designed for roughing it in the great outdoors, ala Teddy Roosevelt. Could have been used for cleaning hunting gear: guns, knives, leathers etc. Handy case to carry around, probably somewhat water proof. Just a guess though.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further rumination. Could the substance be actual saddle soap? This might be a kit for maintaing a saddle. That would explain the numberous types of bruses used for getting into hard to reach places. Another outdoorsy use for this nifty whatzit.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did Tiffany ever make Blackjacks? If so, then maybe it is saddle soap and was used to clean the leather in the Blackjacks.

In another life I was a cowboy. I think it would take forever if I had to use these small brushes to clean/polish my tack. I suspect that whatever this kit was used to clean, it was smaller than a saddle.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It just dawned on me that some might be thinking of the gangster/cop club called a blackjack. I am talking about the leather vessel called a blackjack. A blackjack is a type of tankard made of treated leather, intended for beer or ale most often made with silver mounts and rim. Here is an example of an English Blackjack:

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 11-07-2003 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The marks on the blackjack are for Chester, 1924. Oddly, the date letter (a "y") is turned sideways.

Any idea how old the cleaning kit is? If it predates paved roads, could it have been carried in the (horseless?) carriage for cleaning boots and shoes?

If you were to give measurements of your various whatzits it might help guide the guessers. Your razor strop reel, for instance, looked small enought to hang on a ladies chatelaine!

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Mark Gustus

Posts: 5
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 11-15-2003 12:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Gustus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fascinating! May I suggest a jewelry cleaning kit? "Beeton's Book of Household Management" (1861) gives this advice:

"Jewels are generally wrapped up in cotton, and kept in their cases; but they are subject to tarnish from exposure to the air, and require cleaning. This is done by preparing clean soap-suds, using fine toilet soap. Dip any article of gold, silver, gilt, or precious stones into this lye, and dry them by brushing with a brush of soft badgers' hair, or a fine sponge; afterwards with a piece of fine cloth, and, lastly, with a soft leather."

I would imagine the small brushes were for working up the lather, rather like a shaving brush. The larger brushes would be for drying, and the leather/cloth in the lower compartment was for the final buffing.
The pink color on the interior leads me to think this was produced for home use, rather than shop. Nice artistic lettering on the exterior, too.

Thanks for listening to my ramble,

-Mark

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-15-2003 06:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark-

Welcome to the Forums.

I like your suggestion. I must admit, the pink color was not something I was expecting when I opened the box. Does anyone know when Tiffany started to use the distinctive blue color we all have come to associate with Tiffany?

Tiffany was always a great marketeer. Today it seems that every manufacturer is slapping big bold images of their name/logo on everything from clothing to just about anything the consumer might purchase. My feeling is that in late 1800's early 1900's things were done a bit more subtly. And if the box was for the consumer that the purpose of the contents would have been labeled discreetly on the box. I do think you have it right about its use but that the box was not sold to the consumer. I suspect it used in the store or by traveling Tiffany sales persons.

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Mark Gustus

Posts: 5
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 11-15-2003 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Gustus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott-

Thanks for the welcome and your reply.

According to their website, Tiffany has used their blue from the very beginning - 1837.

Regarding home vs. shop use, I'm out on a limb here, and gratefully accept your suggestions.

Thanks again,

-Mark

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