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...

8 comments:

  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.

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  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.

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

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  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!

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  5. Nice pepper pot Tom.

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

    You look quite dapper in yesterdays photo....

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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