Object of the Week: Highlighting the LCHA Collections

When is a blanket chest not a blanket chest?

“Blanket chest” in the tavern at the Pownalborough Court House

When it’s a “six-board chest.” With a lock. And with a “till.”

These boxes were strong, sturdy, and hard to steal—unlike the small metal or wooden lock-boxes of the day.

People ask why we have a “blanket chest” in the tavern. Well, it was just right—plenty of room for the valuable stock of the tavern, like brandy or a fine wine. It would also hold expensive things like candles—the old saying it was “worth the candle” came from taking one as a gift to a party, where we might bring a bottle of wine. And the chest was convenient to put the evening’s takings into the till. As is clear, the usage of that word came forward into the cash register.

They only turned into “blanket chests” when their usage as safe storage had been superseded and then they were just right for the new function.

Ours is an extra nice one—all original, with half-moon cutout feet. It also includes original snipe hinges, which are very simple cotter-pins with the points bent over.

Snipe hinge

Ours also has the original lock, though we are missing the key!

Original lock

The till still retails its hinged cover, and the exterior is the original red paint.

Till with hinged cover

So there it sits in the tavern, during “opening hours” with stoneware beer bottles on top of it!

Perry Palmer, LCHA Collections Committee