I mentioned in my New Year blog post that my recent write-up of the George family history had resulted in my Mum presenting me with a small family-related artefact.
It was as a result of my discovery that Len Lansdowne, my Mum’s uncle, had worked for Dunn & Co in Croydon as a sales assistant in the early part of the 20th century. She recalled, and promptly found, the item pictured here. It is 2.5 inches/6 cm long, the lower part curves in both directions, and it bears the inscription “Britain’s Best Bowlers by Dunn & Co”. But what is it? I have to say, I am mystified!
I decided to post my query on the Norfolk Family History Society facebook page. Family Historians are so helpful to each other and I was grateful and encouraged to receive a good number of comments and replies. Suggestions have included a shoe horn (not big enough, and the two-way curve doesn’t work), a button hook (no hook), a ‘rounding jack’ for re-shaping a bowler hat (sounds plausible) or a smoking pipe ream (could also be possible). I googled ‘rounding jack’, but all the images are for a much larger implement. Pipe reams seem to vary a lot in style, but I could see it might work in that function.
Someone else suggested contacting a hat museum, and lo and behold I found there is such a place in Stockport, so I have emailed them to see if they have any ideas. The fact that it has the company’s name inscribed on it might suggest it was some sort of promotional item, but I do feel that the strange shape means it must have had a specific use.
I have also emailed the details to Family Tree magazine and gather that my query will appear in either the April or May edition, so I’m looking forward to any further suggestions that might generate.
Other than that I’m at a loss what to think about it, so if you have any bright ideas do leave a comment! I continue to be intrigued by my mystery object.