The Question of the Tobacco Box: The Year 1654 and Dutch/English Tobacco Trade

One of the objects in Agecroft’s collection is a wooden tobacco box. Made in the late 19th century in the Netherlands, this fruitwood box is covered in detailed carvings—different symbols, representations of domestic life, names and the date 1654. The odd carvings on this box have led to a lot more questions than answers. We are going to focus on tobacco trade leading up to 1654, an eventful year for the Dutch, the English and the colonial residents of North America. The Dutch took an interest in the Virginia colony early, visiting in 1619, twelve years after the colony was founded and five years after the first paltry tobacco shipment left Jamestown. Most tobacco was shipped to London for f

Laundry Counter/Laundry Tally Board

One of the most impressive, though small, pieces in our collection is our 17th century laundry counter, also known as a laundry tally. By turning the brass wheels, the counter was used to record how many pieces of each type of laundry were sent out to be cleaned or starched. When the laundry was returned, it was counted and the numbers were compared to make sure all had been returned. Our tally has 15 brass wheels that rotate to reveal a number 1-12. Each wheel is labeled above, handwritten as such: Row 1: [ruffes]/bandes/cuffes/handerkercer/capps Row 2: shirtes/halfshirtes/bootehose/topps/sockes Row 3: sheetes/pillowberes/tabelclothes/napkins/towels This piece measures 5 ¼” wide by 4 7/16”

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