Seniors Today Newspaper
Feel Free To Share!

Coal Scuttles

A fireplace takes a lot of watching and feeding if it is going to keep a room warm. Wood-burning fireplaces use logs cut to the right size to fit into the fireplace. A metal basket holds the logs behind andirons, and a fire screen blocks the ashes and cinders from spilling out into the room. The poker is a tool used to turn or move burning logs. The shovel removes the ashes when the fire is put out. What is the use of the big box with a lid that is on the floor next to the fireplace?

The box is called a coal scuttle. They were first used in the 18th century to hold lumps of coal for the fire. By 1850, coal had been replaced by logs, but the box is still called a coal scuttle. The box could also be used to collect ashes when the fire was out.
This coal scuttle is made of oak with brass trim. It was made about 1900 in the shape of an earlier example with four round feet and a metal lining. It sold for $125 at a DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.

Q: When I was little, before I had my ears pierced, my mother let me play dress-up with vintage clip-on earrings that originally belonged to her mother and aunt. Were clip-on earrings more popular than pierced? When did ear piercing become more common?

A: Clip-on earrings were a 20th century invention. The first earrings were for pierced ears. Post and stud earrings appeared in the mid-1800s, but by the end of the century, people saw piercings as barbaric. Earrings with screw backs were invented in 1894 as an alternative to piercing. Clip-on earrings were patented in the 1930s. Pierced ears became fashionable again in the 1960s. As the styles changed, new owners sometimes put new backings on older style earrings, changing from clip-on to pierced and vice versa.