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Oct 07

Help Please! What are These?

Joe recently found an unusual set of items. We have never seen anything like them before although we have an idea of what they may have been used for.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

It is a set of five triangle-shaped salt-glazed nesting cups. I very much like salt glazed pottery and these unique cups make a nice addition to my collection. They have a crude hand-made quality and a very rough surface.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

The largest cup in the set even has the manufacturer’s name stamped into it. It is difficult to make out but it looks like Goebel Sch…

Were they made in America or could they have come from Germany?

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Although Joe found the set in an old trunk, someone took the time and effort to place a little wad of newspaper between each cup, as a cushion so they would not get broken. That definitely sounds like something my grandma Schumm or my mom would do. They both took very good care of their household items and that trait was probably handed down to them from someone else in the family. So these little cups may even predate my grandmother. Perhaps they were used in the second half of the 19th century by one of my Schumm, Scaer, or Breuninger ancestors. Who knows how old these little cups are and who carefully stored them away in the old trunk.

I carefully unfolded the little wads of newspaper and saw that some of the print was in English and one piece of paper was in German. There was a date of February 1860 for what appeared to be a notice for the sale of some property. I also saw the names New York and Massachusetts. Those were printed in English. Hamilton, Ohio, was printed on the German paper. We will probably never know what they were reading or where the papers came from.

The largest cup is 4.5 inches tall and holds 1½ cups (12 oz). The next cup is 3¾ inches tall and holds 5 oz. The middle one is 3 inches tall and holds 2 oz. The second smallest cup is 2¼ inches tall and holds ¾ oz. The smallest cup is 1¾ inches and holds ¼ oz.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

I am guessing that they were measuring cups for the kitchen. How else did women measure when they baked? Considering their shape, it would have been easy to pour liquids from them. But they are rather heavy and bulky.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Salt glazed nesting cups.

Or, could they have been used in the barn, for the animals? Or for measuring something for the farm?

I would sure like to hear from anyone who knows what these little cups were used for or if anyone has seen anything like them before.

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