19th Century Memory Jug

  • 19th Century Memory Jug
  • 19th Century Memory Jug
  • 19th Century Memory Jug
  • 19th Century Memory Jug
  • 19th Century Memory Jug

19th Century Memory Jug

$325.00 USD

The Memory Jug originated in Africa and was used to decorate graves and help the dead navigate to the afterlife.  The tradition came to this country through the slave trade and saw a surge in the late 1800's as our Victorian ancestors sought a means to display mementos in one place.

This jug, or jar, has hundreds of items, almost all metal, cemented to a commercially made glass jar.  The items include: bits of chain, hinges, keys, locks, screws, washers, a metal caster, hooks, nails, buttons, a pair of scissors, a button hook, staples, a belt buckle, a pipe (smoking) and numerous odd bits of metal.  One non-metallic item is a glass vial (which has broken.)

The jug measures 9" tall and 6" in diameter at its base.  It weighs in at a hefty 7+ pounds.

A careful look at the items helps us date the piece.  Most of the screws are the straight shafted type (pre-1845) but a few are tapered.  The nails are mostly the cut type (1790 to 1880) but there is one wire nail.  Some of the decorated metal pieces were common in the second half of the 19th century.  From this we surmise this memory jug was made in the second half of the 19th Century from bits of scrap, perhaps from grandpa's workshop.

The jug was finished off with applications of blue and gold paint in a somewhat random fashion.

Condition is remarkably good with only the broken glass vial and a few missing pieces over its one hundred plus years.

An estimated $25 is included in the price to cover packing, shipping and insurance.

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