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Tinsmith's Stake

1700-1800
Origin: Europe
OH: 18 1/2"; OW: 30 3/4"; OD: 2 1/4"
Iron / steel
Gift of Steve Hoffman
Acc. No. 2010-23
Tinsmith's stake. Flat, tapering flange with two square corners, two different wiring/creasing grooves, one hole and a narrow beveled end, with a long thin beak horn opposite. Chamfered square sectioned post with decorative shaping at the junction with the top and a molded square collar at the transition to the post tang.
Label:Believed to be Continental European in origin, this elegant tinsmith's stake differs from its Anglo-American cousins in that it has some embellishments, while the former seldom do. Most noticeable is the square collar at the base of the post, where it transitions into the mounting tang. On the other end, there is some decorative filing. A deeply struck crescent shape has been impressed into each face of the post just above its basal collar.

Functionally, this stake was meant to serve a number of purposes, and was certainly a valuable tool in a craftsman's arsenal. With it, a tinsmith could create right angle bends, set wire into the edge of a piece of tin, form long narrow tubes and shape curved handles, to name a few.