This dainty little brass nutcracker was intended to be carried in the pocket. It is engraved with the name EDITH ATTWOOD, presumably its owner, and was probably made circa 1710 -1720. A nutcracker of similar design is engraved with the date 1716. Named nutcrackers from any period are relatively rare and the engraving may indicate a precious possession, a gift, or even a precaution against theft.
The nutcracker is cast in two parts and the handles have acorn finials. Gentle & Feild illustrate a late 18th century brass-founder’s pattern book showing similar models, so the design evidently remained popular over a long period.
- Rupert Gentle & Rachael Feild, Domestic Metalwork 1640-1820, 2nd edition revised by Belinda Gentle, 1994, Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, ISBN1851491872, p. 288, Fig. 4A