M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS
RARE GEORGE III OLD SHEFFIELD PLATE CUCUMBER SLICER
A rare Old Sheffield Plate cucumber slicer, having a hollow cylinder mounted onto a baluster form pedestal base bordered with reeding and stylized foliate scrolls, original handle; steel cutting blade
Cucumber slicers are quite rare, and an example of innovations that began with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700's. The cucumber would have been placed inside the cylinder, and held in place by a spikes mounted onto a metal disc. This disc moved forward as the handle was turned, pushing the cucumber forward within in the cylinder. A steel blade then cut the cucumber into thin slices for accompaniments to bread and butter.
Condition : Excellent with expected minor bleed on some of the high spots
7.75” High x 10” Wide
ABOUT CUCUMBER SLICERS
“Cucumber slicers of Sheffield plate were very possibly the notion of George Stephenson (1780 - 1848). The celebrated locomotive engineer lived, after his second marriage in 1819, at Tapton House, a few miles south of Sheffield in the neighbourhood of his principal coalmines. Stephenson was an ardent gardener and counted among his horticultural interests the propagation of straight cucumbers. This he achieved by maturing each cucumber in a glass tube measuring about a foot in length and with a diameter of about two inches. These somewhat resembled test tubes, with a slight curvature on one side and with one end sealed with a knob. In clear molded glass they cost 1s 9d a pound at the glasshouse and 2s 4d in flint-glass. Cucumber glasses could have been made at any one of the several glasshouses near Sheffield.
Stephenson amused himself and puzzled visiting celebrities by serving them with thinly sliced raw cucumbers of uniform size and thickness instead of the fashionable cucumber stew containing 'slices as thick as a crown piece' and of unpredictable size and shape from the distorted cucumbers then grown.
The Sheffield plate cucumber slicer consisted of a horizontal tube supported on a sturdy stand with a baluster stem and a round foot weighted with loom. The silver plating served to protect the salad from the unpalatable flavor of acidic cucumber juice upon base metal. Fitted to one end of the tube was the steel blade razor thin which could be revolved on a spindle operated by hand crank. The blade could be removed quickly for cleaning by detaching a small thumbscrew. Cucumber slicers in silver and ivory have been recorded.”
Sheffield Silver Plate, G. Bernard Hughes, pp.258-9
A cucumber slicer with an identical stem is pictured in the same volume, Illustration # 239
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