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4050 A Very Rare Silver-Mounted Locking Decanter


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This is a very rare example of a locking decanter.   The shaft and globe body has 4 vertical ribs, but is otherwise quite plain; it is fitted with a plain, hollow inverted pear-shapped stopper.

The unusual feature of this decanter is that it has a silver mount with a locking device, and the stopper has a silver collar with a mortice at one end and a hook at the other, which engages with the decanter mount.

The silver mount has the Birmingham hallmarks for 1899, and the makers' mark of John Grinsell & Sons.  In 1880 they described themselves as "the sole manufacturers and patentees of 'Sesame' lock-up liqor stands'.  Whether or not that patent is what we have here, we have so far been unable to ascertain, as from the description, it could equally apply to what today we know as a tantalus.

What is certain, however, is that John Grinsell and Sons were specialists at silver-mounted glass objects - inkwells, cruets, caddies etc., and their output included champagne decanters and other drink-related items.  Many are quite ingenious, and they display a uniformly high quality.  The lock is not fully functional, but it should not prove too difficult to effect full functionality.

Date: 1889

Dimensions: 11.4", 29 cm. high incl. stopper

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