Friday, 20 August 2010

Dispensing pepper in Georgian Ireland

I thought you Irish (Mise) would like to see the latest thing I bought on eBay recently. It's a little, Irish, glass pepper-pot with a silver top, dating from about 1820. I thought I would make the title as dry and boring as I possibly could, just to warn you.

Why do I think it is Irish? Because the Irish glass houses went in for hob-nail cutting and 90% steps like this in a big way - they are famous for it.

Why do I think it's for pepper and not salt? Because salt was coarser then, most of the time, and was served in little, open, boat-shaped dishes called (funnily enough) 'salts'. If it were larger (it's only about 2.5 inches high) then I might have believed the seller when he described it as a 'pounce' pot. If you don't know, 'pounce' was a dry powder (usually ground cuttle-fish bone) made to absorb wet ink on documents like blotting paper.

Cute, isn't it? It was a cute price too - £5 plus postage, so it didn't break the bank.

Re the title of this post, there was once a competition in an American magazine to create a title for a TV documentary which would be most likely to get everyone switching off or changing channels. The winner was: "Canada - Sleeping Giant of the North". Genius.

Ok, school's out. You can go outside and play now...


  1. That's a darling little pepper-pot, I remark with pride. And a set of them would make fine handles for a bureau. What a bargain.

  2. Door handles! You certainly know how to put a chap down, Mise! If I find another 5 to match, I'll buy an old bureau to go with them.

  3. I feel a little more educated now. And it is very cute. I thought such things would break the bank.

  4. Australians are BIG glass collectors, brismod - I have sent a lot of glass to Australia and Tasmania. I sent a set of table glass to a museum fort in Tasmania once, and the carriers took it to Canada by mistake. The little pepper-pot could fetch about £150 on a good day, but it would have to be a very good day. G'day!

  5. Nice pepper pot Tom.

    Those for Canada as the BORING sleeping giant of the North......

    You look quite dapper in yesterdays photo....

  6. Yes, it's about time Canada declared war on the USA. I had been up since dawn on the day of that photo, cueing to buy tickets for the Alhambra - crazy.

  7. Thanks for visiting and good to meet you. I really like this pepperpot but must resist the urge to collect anything at all. My house is full and so is my life!

  8. What, Elizabeth - no room in your life for a teency weency pepper pot? And I thought that I had a compact but adorable, city apartment.