Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Getting Warmer! Mystery Artifact Revealed
Our anonymous commenter was exactly right in guessing last week's mystery artifact was a hand warmer! This lovely silver example has floral scrollwork down the sides, but we have several other hand warmers in our collection, as well.
This hand warmer is fabric-covered. Although the fabric is starting to deteriorate (as textiles often do, especially when they're in contact with other materials like metal), you can still make out the hexagonal-honeycomb pattern. Slightly harder to see are the small daisy-like flowers inside each hexagon!
This next example might be my favorite:
The case is designed a bit like a lunchbox, with a clasp to open and close it.
My favorite element of this particular artifact, however, is the slider that allows these little vents to open:
Of course, if your family was unable to afford a top-of-the-line hand warmer like the examples above, one could always go the practical route with a baked potato in each pocket. Laura Ingalls Wilder described doing just that in her book Little House in the Big Woods. "Ma slipped piping hot baked potatoes into their pockets to keep their fingers warm . . . " while they rode in their sled with warmed flatirons at their feet and covered in blankets, quilts, and buffalo robes.
It seems like the trusty baked potato might be making a comeback as a non-chemical, biodegradable hand warmer! This blog post endorses baked potatoes as an eco-friendly alternative to chemical handwarmers, with an added bonus - you can snack on the potato as it cools!