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Thread: does anyone know what this is?

  1. #1
    Senior Member paulettepoe's Avatar
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    does anyone know what this is?

    My friend inherited her grandmothers treadle machine. This was in one of the drawers. It is made of bone. has small holes in it. I wondered out loud if it might be a thread separater of some kind. Would appreciate any help. The machine was from about 1914-1920.
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    Some people visit paradise, I live there.

  2. #2
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    I have one too in a box with my parents' things. I think mine's plastic. I was told it's a letter opener, but I'm not so sure. If you look at yours with a magnifying glass you'll be able to tell if it's bone/ivory or stamped plastic. I'll be watching for the real answer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member paulettepoe's Avatar
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    It's bone. that I know already. and letter opener did cross my mind, but the edges seem too wide and rough for it to be used for that.
    Some people visit paradise, I live there.

  4. #4
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Looks like a letter opener. Do an internet search for carved bone letter opener and see if you can find one like it.

    Found one similar made of celluloid at this site. http://search.rubylane.com/search/,c...s,id=88.4.html

    Look about half way down the page.
    Last edited by Caroline S; 03-11-2012 at 06:26 AM.
    Sweet Caroline

  5. #5
    Senior Member allie's Avatar
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    it is a letter opener
    Allie

  6. #6
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    It's a letter opener.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Briarberry's Avatar
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    It may be a letter opener but my Grandma had something like that (less ornate) and she used it to crease paper after it had been folded. She worked in a book bindery for years and it was what they used on the pages of the books to really crease the paper fold. I also own a similar one (it's plastic) and use it when I make cards, I bought it at Stampin Up. Maybe it was used in quilting somehow? I use my plastic one when I am cutting fabric and need a good fold. The one pictured is beautiful.

  8. #8
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I hate to disagree, but I believe it's plastic or celluloid. I can see the "pour" lines around the elephant. Here's a few exactly like it for sale on ebay. Cool find! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Elep...-/370529836737

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-CELL...#ht_1078wt_973

  9. #9
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    Looks like a letter opener to me. IMHO
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  10. #10
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    If you really want to know what it is made of, heat a needle then touch it to the piece in an inconspicuous place. If it melts it is plastic. If it doesn't melt it is bone or Ivory.

  11. #11
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    Briarberry- You may be thinking of what is called a "bone folder" for setting creases in paper. I agree this is very wide for a letter opener- maybe for opening packages? Thank you everyone for the pictures. Mine is in a trunk- not accessible at present. Wonder if it's bone or celluloid?

  12. #12
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    I think it is a letter opener too but I would have used it to push out the corners that I sewed-----

  13. #13
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    I have one too, except mine is a light green. I think mine is plastic. I never knew what it was for, either.
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  14. #14
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    It's a bone folder for creasing paper regardless of whether it is made of bone, ivory or plastic.

  15. #15
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    These were sent out by some of the "Missions" during the 40's & 50's. I have several, one is still in the original envelope from Indian Missions, Kansas City, KS. They are plastic, and they are letter openers. They asked for $1.00 donation to keep the letter opener or please return in enclosed envelope.

  16. #16
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Do you suppose it's an early version of the tool we use to " finger press"?

  17. #17
    Member hexagonquilter's Avatar
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    What is it?

    Ok, I will put my two cents in... I think it is a hand iron. You rub it across something you want pressed. what do you think? maybe?
    Cathy ~ hexagon hand quilter
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  18. #18
    Senior Member paulettepoe's Avatar
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    its celluloid. thanks everyone. the mystery is solved. just another reason why I love it here. love you gals a bunch!!!!
    Some people visit paradise, I live there.

  19. #19
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    Ditto to the letter opener. Mine was in grandma's treadle to. Guess it kept it safe from grandpa losing it!

  20. #20
    Member Aggierebel76's Avatar
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    Its either a letter opener or thread cutter!

  21. #21
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    I believe it is a bone knife, used to fold a signature of pages for book binding. When I took a book-making class in North Carolina, that was the type of knife we used.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulettepoe View Post
    My friend inherited her grandmothers treadle machine. This was in one of the drawers. It is made of bone. has small holes in it. I wondered out loud if it might be a thread separater of some kind. Would appreciate any help. The machine was from about 1914-1920.
    My Great Grandmother and both of my Grandmothers had them also - letter openers. Maybe your friends grandmother used hers when pulling the thread out from under the foot after re-threading the machine.

  23. #23
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    Hi I am no expert but it looks like part of ivory made for an envelop cutter-- quilt for fun Grandma G

  24. #24
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    My MIL gave me one so many years ago. I still have it. It's a letter opener. Use the straight edge.

  25. #25
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    That definitely looks like a letter opener. Not sure why it would be in with the sewing stuff, but might have been used to cut folded tracing paper to the desired width. I know we used strips a couple inches wide for most of the marking we did with the tracing wheel and tracing paper.
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