Saturday, November 30, 2013

Do You Know What This Thing Is?

This is the story of an inherited piece and the joy of Google.  When I first unpacked this, I thought it was an incense burner.  Then I noticed that there were no vents to allow smoke to escape.

So if it wasn't an incense burner, what is it?  The loop on the handle looked like it's meant to hold the lid, but the lid loop didn't fit into it. (I later learned that this was due to corrosion.)

There were two bird's heads on the lip of the main body.  They looked like they're meant as hooks or supports.  I thought that maybe they would hold the lid tipped up, to let smoke out, but I wasn't able to make that work.

There was a grate, which would work for an incense burner.  And maybe the lid was supposed to be used to smother it, saving incense for later.

There was a mark on the bottom.  Meriden Silver Plate - Quadruple Plate 1339 1/2 - with a lion holding a rose. 

OK.  That's googlable.  Aaaand, it's a butter dish!  The grate is called a pierced liner "which served to keep the butter above melting ice."  And the lid IS supposed to hang from the handle. The bird's head supports are meant to hold a butter knife.  Cool beans!  I never knew that butter used to be sold in "one pound circular cakes, which measured roughly four inches in diameter."

Now I have to decide whether to keep it or not.