Unboxing: Original Straw Splitters

I actually did a happy dance at the mailbox. I am pretty sure the frogs in the pond were as excited as I was. Then, I even jumped up and down as I pointed to my envelop, yelling “Thank you” to my delivery person. She was kind enough to yell back at the overly-enthusiastic, possibly crazy person, as she drove by.

So…. what had me so excited?

A small, 9×10″ padded manilla envelop.

This is an envelop that I wasn’t really sure would ever arrive. When I stumbled across it early in July, I thought I was seeing things. I had been looking for one of these for years. Really. Years. But, there is was. Well, not it. They. There they were. Dirty. Filthy. Worn. Damaged….. Perfect.

And… in England…. in the middle of a Pandemic…. in the midst of a global postal slow-down……

The shipping notification gave a two week window. Knowing how things were going, I figured they might show a week or so after the window. As events evolved, I started to wonder if the package would even make it. Would it get lost? Would someone get sick? Would it get mixed up with mystery seeds?

Then, mid-day-ish, I went to the mailbox to get a box of flowers my delivery digest said was coming. I open my mailbox to see not a long, skinny box, nor even a key to open another box, but a little manilla envelop…..

Que: “It’s here!” (loudly) and happy dance

Que: pond frogs replying in mutual glee…..

okay. maybe not so much with the frogs.

Some of you may be looking at the video wondering “What are those things?” or “What is she so happy about?”

I suppose I should back up and start with:

What are Straw Splitters?

Straw splitters were tools used for splitting a cylindrical tube of wheat or rye straw into almost-sorta flat pieces that can be braided/plaited or used for making straw motifs/decorations.

There were a few different kinds of straw splitters used in the nineteenth century. Here is an article from The Straw Shop showing the different types of straw splitters. Mine are similar to those in the fifth photo down. As you can see from their article, straw splitters initially were very small tools easily lost in their time or over time. I can’t help but wonder over the decades, how many disregarded mystery items found tucked in workboxes were in fact straw splitters.

As I said in the video, I am very excited to have these and to be able to display them in the future. At one point in the video, I had to remind myself I was recording. I could have sat there staring at these little tools for a long time wondering whose hands used them, how many hundreds or thousands of straws they split, what hats or bonnets they became, if they helped feed a small family or maybe a large one, and how they were lost……

My next steps will be to temporarily add them to the display case I have. I don’t foresee being able to get the case I want this year. The craftsman only does this one event a year. I think the temporary case will be the safest place for them for now. Eventually, I will get the right case. In the meantime, it would be nice to find a blacksmith who could reproduce a straw splitter like this.


*Note: I mis-spoke in the video. These are not archeological finds. These were found by a person using a metal detector.


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Published in: on August 5, 2020 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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