Item B22 - Musk Ox Horn British Tool Handle. 

In the latter half of the 19 Century Sheffield tool and cutlery makers imported huge amounts of Smithurst reports that in 1887 Sheffield cutlers produced 72,000 antler handles per week, maintained stock piles of ivory (a single maker maintained in inventory of 122 tons of elephant ivory), and used “truckloads” of black horn from American bison.  This unmarked tool handle is clearly English-made, with a winged brass collet, ferrule, and a finely threaded top.  The horn body was sold as “Cape Buffalo,” but actually appears to be something quite different.  While most buffalo horn is predominately black, with little color variation, the horn from which this tool handle was made is basically a light yellow, with streaks of brownish color.  The horn that fits this appearance is from the boss of the Musk Ox of the Arctic.  In the late 19th century this material was reaching England from explorers in the north of Greenland and the eastern Canadian Arctic.  The slaughter of such animals was widespread—mostly for meat and hides, but surely horns were collected brought to Europe, and perhaps even traded for the by the ubiquitous Hudson Bay Company.  This tool handle is so distinctive that it is surely crafted from Musk Ox horn.  The tool handle stands 5 ¼” high with threaded brass color and ferrule, and a turned bead to the base of the screw top.  The handle contains an array of 11 tools, most of which look original, but at least two others have been pressed into use by owners.  The tool is in fine condition, and is a real rarity for a collector.


              Price -  $190.00

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