Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Getting Carried Away?: This Artifact Revealed!

Hello all! Sorry for the delay in the posting of this reveal
We only got one guess on this one...which was a cheese grater. I suppose it could look like one of these? Maybe...

But seriously, this mystery object is… a book carrier! 

Ooh ahhh.

It is also, as I learned while I did research for this post, known as a “shawl strap.” Shawl straps were made to carry any number of things, and as this listing in the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalogue says, it “will adjust to any ordinary package.” As their name suggests, they could be used to carry a shawl, blanket, or similar items, used while traveling.  

Before the widespread use of backpacks or satchels, this kind of carrier was also commonly used to carry schoolbooks. The straps here could be lengthened or shortened in order to hold onto however many books one needed.
Many people (schoolchildren, mainly) might have also used leather straps or belts that looked like this as well:

Personally, I think I’d rather use the wooden handle.

While we're on the subject of the school supplies of yesterday, here's a list of them that you might find interesting.

As we always say, please come visit us and check out this mystery artifact up close!
(Also check out the rest of the museum, it’s pretty cool.)

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