1829 Burl Wood
Pictured above is an old burl wood Masonic snuff
box, silver plate engraved: Robert Kerr, Bellstone, (Ireland), and dated
1829. It is 6 1/2 inches in length, 3 1/2 inched wide. The top is a
finely executed ink inscription of the Kerr family kneeling at prayer and
many of the symbols of Freemasonry depicted underneath.
It is a truism
that almost every human habit produces some form of beauty in one of the
arts. The practice of snuff-taking has been no exception to the rule and the
study of this development in the snuff box is a fascinating one. It is
perhaps in the art of the metal worker, whether goldsmith, silversmith, or
pewterer, that this artistic achievement has been demonstrated through the
centuries of snuff indulgence. Just as, for the earliest smokers, the
craftsman created exquisite things in the form of shredding knives, tobacco
jars, boxes and pouches, so has he given us a legacy in the form of snuff
boxes, some of them of unsurpassed beauty and of considerable value as works
Since snuff boxes first became popular, boxes have been made from a wide
variety of materials and we find today in private collections and museums,
wonderful examples in gold and silver, brass and copper, ebony, pewter, jade
and agate, ivory, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, horn, leather, papier
mache, and numerous rare and beautiful woods.
But beauty is not the last word in the creation of snuff boxes. They must be
practical and efficient. It is fitting that snuff be enshrined in these
precious materials but, however rare they may be and however beautiful the
box, there is one essential factor that must come before all else - the box
today must be made in such a way as to be "snuff-proof" and it must keep the
snuff in good condition.
A special "Thanks"
from Brother Al Lohman, a 30 year collector and 30+ year Masonic Lodge
member from Wisconsin. Al trades on eBay under the User ID "lochlohman"