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Antiques Considered - October, 2, 2013

A writer from Montross has inquired about this cabinet, which she references as a “doughbox.”  It has been in her family for a number of generations.  She brought it with her from Iowa when she moved to the Northern Neck five years ago, but she notes that her family has roots in Ohio, New York and Virginia.  Some of the blanking comes from a single board, and she thinks the nails are handmade.


Rather than terming this piece a “doughbox”, I should call it a grain or flour bin.  It likely dates from the early to mid-nineteenth century, but the place of origin is more difficult to determine.  It is a typical farm or store utility piece.  Indeed, I have a similar bin that my parents purchased in the early 1950s from the old store on K Street in Washington under the present-day Whitehurst Freeway.

Our box is pine, and I am certain that if this one were stripped of its layers of paint, it would be also.  In this case I recommend stripping the paint.  The base layer might be an original color in buttermilk paint, but I doubt the box was painted originally.  If not, the pine should come out very well.

The slope to the lid and the delicacy of the feet are nice features.  The latter kept the grain or flour off the floor, lest dampness cause it to spoil, and made entry more difficult for mice.  The possibly handmade nails might be rosehead nails, which would give credence to it having an Eastern origin.

Pieces such as this one were meant to be utilitarian in purpose, thus when they ceased to be useful they were discarded, i.e., when more secure modern means of storage replaced them.  As they disappeared, the value of the survivors increased.  When my parents bought ours, they paid $13 for it.  This one is a gem, and properly restored would be worth $300.

 

Happy Antiquing!
Henry Lane Hull and his wife, Lisa, own Commonwealth Antiques & Appraisals, Inc. located at P.O. Box 35 Wicomico Church, VA 22579
You may call them at 804.580.3301, or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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