Brass Welsh Miner’s ‘Twist’ Storage Tin

Materials: brass with thin sheet iron inner compartment.
Dimensions: height 15 cm / 6 in, diameter 6.5 cm / 2.5 in.
Place of Origin: UK.
Date: late 19th to early 20th century.
Retailer: Daniel Thomas, Treorky, S. Wales.
Present Location: private collection.


This miner’s ‘twist’ tin is unusual in having the retailer’s name, rather than the maker’s name, stamped on an oval brass plaque. Daniel Thomas was active as a wholesale and retail ironmonger in Treorchy, South Wales in the late 19th – early 20th centuries and was advertising in local newspapers in 1900, spelling the town’s name with ‘ch’ (see illustration).

The spelling of ‘Treorky’ on the brass plaque suggests that this tin was made in the last quarter of the 19th century when this spelling is to be found on an Ordnance Survey map of 1875. The name is derived from a stream, the ‘Nant Orky’, which flows into the River Rhondda.

The sheet iron inner compartment of the tin fits snugly inside the brass outer, providing a virtually airtight seal and keeping the tobacco moist.

‘Twist’ was the local name for chewing tobacco, and such cylindrical tins were used to store lengths of such tobacco. Smaller pieces were cut off and stored for daily use in the more familiar brass oval pocket boxes.

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