August 24, 2011

Open the Newspaper!

It’s amazing how many funny contraptions the Victorians had… everything from ice cream forks, to asparagus tongs, to specialized utensils for myriad foods.

Today, I found a new piece – a newspaper opener. God forbid that you get that nasty ink from the paper on your hands (New York Times, I am talking to YOU!). I think that one of my great-aunts had someone iron her newspaper. This simple little contraption allows you to flip the page and then smooth it down, without ever touching it. opener Most of the newspaper openers are about a foot long and have a handle and a blade-type end. This one is silver and ivory. opener2 This one is carved ivory at one with a silver ferrule in the middle.  opener4 Another silver and ivory newspaper opener. The ivory on this one looks a little damaged. opener3 I liked this one made from olive wood and shagreen, which is shark’s skin. opener5 Another elaborately handled opener.

opener6 This one has a fox’s head on it, and is marked Foxcroft. It’s up for auction this weekend at Alex Cooper in Baltimore.

I am endlessly fascinated by auction sites, and try to attend when I can. You always learn something!

14 comments:

  1. For the lady who has everything.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One could mistake them for frosting knives. Thanks for setting us straight.

    Best, Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm remembering one of the opening scenes of Downton Abbey, a member of below-stairs staff was at the ironing board, ironing Mr. Crawley's morning paper before delivering it to him flattened and fresh at the breakfast table. Now I'm wondering whether one of these was sitting, perhaps, on or near the breakfast table for his lordship to use. Or might a device such as this be used below stairs as well, Meg?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meg, I love your posts. I am always learning something new.
    ~Suzy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Meg I always learn something new from you, have never seen these!

    xoxo
    Karena

    Art by Karena

    ReplyDelete
  6. Put one on your etsy site and I'll be more than happy to purchase it. Prior to the news going on-line, I had been known to occassionally "not read" the paper when I was dressed for work for fear of smearing ink on my clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Diana Vreeland had the staff iron her MONEY. But yanno...there's something to that fastidiousness and "doing it right" that's very appealing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That is amazing....and to think today we rarely iron our clothes! I do remember my Mother ironing the bed sheets. We've come along way!

    Thanks for sharing, I had no idea "newspaper openers" existed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, turning the pages of the newspaper with your fingers is soooo last year. (insert obnoxious expression and huge eye roll here)




    lol

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh how interesting..I have seen these but never knew what it was for or whatever to do with it. It's a grand day when I learn one new thing. thanks xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for the information. We have a beautiful sterling silver one with engraving on it. It was given as a gift from Father to Son. I love your daily blogs. I find that I look forward to your adventures. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. sadly, many were shaved down in the 20th century to be used as letter openers.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Meg, I came back to this post to read the comments hoping to garner more information from readers. You see, I have one of these, in silver with a long tortoiseshell blade I bought in London years ago in Camden Passage. I was told by the dealer it was actually a paper cutter: for cutting book pages after publication. Could you use your magic to research this further? Thanking you in advance of course!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Bob... I was amazed by how little information I could find about these things. When I googled "newspaper opener" the only things that came up were the images I posted.

    I would think that this item would be used for a paper cutter for cutting pages, and in fact, that is what I thought at first!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.