Herb Mixing Bowl with Pestle Rare Antique Apothecary Set of 3
It was a hot summer day when I attended an awesome antique sale that was held in the backyard, on an acre of property about twenty years ago. I picked up an item that held my interest as it was very unusual sporting a small shallow bowl with a turned angled handle. I placed it in my kitchen cupboard and did not think much about it until I happened to see a piece exactly like mine in the "Kitchen Antiques 1790 ~ 1940" book on page 80, as referenced in image 27. This book identified this piece as an "Herb Mixing Bowl" that consisted of two pieces! I ran over to my cupboard immediately, barley avoiding stepping on Mica's tail and was able to confirm the handle did indeed unscrew from the bowl . I had this piece all of these years and never knew!
What I also did not know is that these herb mixing bowls came in a set of three and were graduated in size. I was fortunate enough to find a set and am excited to present this rare offering to you. The contents are also included as the bowls look nice filled.
Apparently, these were used in apothecary shops as well as kitchens for mixing powders related to home remedies. My best guess is these primitive herb crushers date to around the turn of the century to 1920. The beautiful grain on the bowls may be a result of using a hardwood like oak or walnut. See images 23 & 24, referencing the smaller version of this bowl. The color is a rich chocolate brown enhanced with light and dark striations in the wood that lend so much warm character and charm.
What I find so appealing about these unusual herb crushers is that they acted as a mortar and pestle and do not take up much room when stacked inside of each other. They also closely resemble a diminutive wooden "piggin" or "Dipper". There is minimal wear on each piece as they may not have been used very much. The surface does has a slight sheen and the turnings can be seen on the bottom.
The threaded handle can just be unscrewed on each piece leaving the exposed wooden threads present on the counterpart bowl. The flat end on the handle was used to crush herbs into powders and can certainly also be called a pestle. When the task was completed the handle was conveniently screwed back into the wooden bowl so it would not get lost. Quite an ingenious idea if you ask me!!
I filled the small bowl with a dried persimmon slice, acorns including a hand ~ crafted felted acorn for the Autumn months. Two quarter end sections of lime, a dried orange slice and berries were used to fill the medium sized bowl. Lastly, the large bowl was filled with spices including bay leaves and coriander that look "as right as rain" because these could be crushed with ease. I also added a wee gourd dipper spoon just in case you decide to keep the pestle, i.e., handle on the bowl.
This dazzling trio is in very good condition and a rare find as all three pieces have stayed together for over a hundred years. They were well cared for and never abused. Even though the "2000" price guide in this referenced "Kitchen Antiques" book values one herb bowl at $48.00 which would make this set worth $144.00, I am passing the savings on to you as I was able to purchase these for a better price. Whether you decide to stack these together or display them separately, this illusive set of quaint herb mixing bowls are sure to be valued as a prized collection! Enjoy!
Overall height for the small herb crusher is 4 3/4" including the handle, (1 3/4" not including the handle, 3 1/4" across the top & bottom. Pestle or Handle measures 3 1/4" Tall by 5/8" @ the widest point (Top). Overall height for the medium Herb Crusher is almost 4 1/2" including the handle, (almost 2" not including the handle, 3 3/4" across the top & bottom. Pestle or Handle measures 3 1/4" Tall by 5/8" @ the widest point (Top). Overall height for the large Herb Crusher is almost 4 1/2" including the handle, (almost 2" not including the handle, 4 1/2" across the top & bottom. Pestle or Handle measures 3 1/4" Tall by 5/8" @ the widest point (Top).
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.