This next unique offering lends a rare quality boasting admirable form not to mention a pleasing dry attic surface. The pitcher along with the muddler companion was most likely used in a tavern and possibly has continental roots.
At first glance this ensemble appears to look like a small tabletop churn sporting the classic lid with a center hole feature to accommodate a dasher. In reality, this piece was used as a mixing implement and would have rendered tasty drinks to patrons that frequent a roadside tavern. The muddler resembles a wooden lemon reamer but instead has a graduated slim handle design. The bottom portion would have been used as a masher for fruits, vegetables or other additives. A small pouring spout located at the top near the rim qualifies this double duty vessel to serve as a pitcher because the drink could then be poured in a cup and then served to the patrons.
To aid in mixing the contents the muddler handle would have possibly been held in-between the palms of ones hands by rolling it back and forth using a fast motion. This movement (action) is similar to the same concept used in stirring chocolate in a chocolate pot . The wooden open chamber (blades) located at the bottom would have done their mixing job with precision and help from the barkeep.
The pitcher may have been fashioned from walnut because of the grain features and is a heavy piece that is strong, durable and crafted with skill. The dark patina is warm and inviting and so are the turnings just above the footed base. A smooth surface is undeniable caused from years of handling and the carved handle and spout feature make for an interesting piece.
Recessed, circular lines (bands) appearing on the body shown near the middle as well as near the bottom lend a simple decorative touch. There are superficial age related cracks present throughout. Image 16 captures a larger crack starting from the pedestal base cascading downward toward the footed area. There is another tight crack smaller in form located on the body near the second set of recessed bands that terminates abruptly before the pedestal as shown in image 17. Overall this piece is in good condition and structurally sound.
Even though the lid looks as though it belongs with this piece I feel it may be a marriage. As shown in image 24 there is an indented groove underneath the lid to act as a “catch” so it will not become dislodged from the vessel counterpart. In this case the lid rests on the top of the pitcher but does not fit into the opening provided. The lid also has superficial age cracks sprinkled throughout the edges and top area. There is one other hairline crack on the underside of the lid as shown in image 24 but again terminates quickly toward the center hole location. The color is wonderful sporting a dark crushed walnut hue that seems to be a good match for the color on the footed base.
The stir stick (muddler) has sustained substantial wear on the handle as well as the blade area. A tight crack can be found just above the wooden blade and extends upward about 3 ¼” toward the handle as referenced in image 32. A small chip along with slight wood loss can be found on the top edge of the handle. There are several more cracks related to the flat bottom portion of the blade along with a hole located in the middle. Traces of open areas on the handle could be a pest related issue that happened long ago as referenced in images 33 & 34……but this muddler is a survivor against all odds!
If you happen to love primitive wooden-ware and are looking for something very unusual and interesting to add to your collection, you may not want to hesitate on this offering as you will probably have a difficult time finding another. This neat piece of treen could call home on a kitchen counter, in a tall cupboard or set on a shelf in your pantry. Another possibility if you are trying to recreate a tavern look is to display this piece in your “tavern cage bar” as this will undoubtedly create true authenticity without delay. A pewter plate laced with stone fruit would be an appropriate compliment placed nearby along with an old candlestick! Enjoy!
Overall height is 16” tall to the top of the handle, pitcher itself stands 8 ¼” including the lid, measures 3 ¼” across the top opening and bottom (footed base). Lid measures 2 ¾” across to top raised area, measures 3 ½” across the top and bottom, stands almost ¾” tall and the hole opening is almost 1” across. Muddler stands 13 ½” tall, handle measures almost ½” across the top and graduates down to almost 1” near the bottom (widest point). Wooden blades measure 1 ½” @ the longest point (kitty corner) at the flat bottom location and each blade is about 1 ¾” tall.