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Round Blue Bentwood Box

Presented here is a large and impressive early 19th Century Blue Pantry Box with a straight lapped seam and a single carved finger on the lid. Marked in graphite under the lid, Esther Ann CheneyFrom a noted New England Collection.  Condition is excellent . . . H 5" D 11".

This box has most unusual construction, in my experience, in that the overlap on the top edge of the interior of the box is fastened for 5-6"  to the top of the box with iron tacks, thus reinforcing it and keep it from separating or buckling. Those same tacks continue down in orderly fashion to create the straight seam on the side of the box. The single right facing finger is also fastened with iron tacks. This box was built for sturdy. Also to be noted is that boxes were many times painted with their lids on as was this one.
Mary Earle Gould states in Early American Woodenware that "one of the rare finds ( of her collection) was a pie box (Plate 92), not unlike a cheese box in size, but deeper. A rack could be made, the size of the box. with three small legs, making it possible to carry two pies in the box---a pie under and another on the rack.  It was a custom then, as now, to take food to various functions, and the pie box made it possible to take pies with no mishap." The fact that she signed the box on the inside of the lid might lead one to speculate that the box is indeed a box for transporting her pies to these functions, the signature to define ownership.  While the rack has gone missing, or was never used, it's not all that important.  What is important is that a pie plate fits in it perfectly. Just a thought.  Because the interior of the box is so clean, another possible use might have been to hold ribbons, scraps of fabric, etc. Whatever its use, it's a beautiful box in excellent condition.



 Note: (Esther Ann Cheney, nee: Tottingham was born in 1827 in Pittsford, Vermont and lived there her entire life, dying in 1901.

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