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You are looking at a Antique Victorian Knife Cleaner. Missing from this knife cleaner is part of the handle that has snapped off during the course of its life and the top section that fit on the top to cover the inner workings of the knife cleaner and was equipped to hold knifes.
"Before the invention of stainless steel, (which your cutlery will probably be made of at home) knives were very hard to keep clean and shiny. If they got too wet, they would get rusty and water could leak down into the handles, which were made of wood or bone. The Victorian maids would use a special knife-cleaning machine to polish them up. The knives would be put, blade down, into the holes along the top of the machine, with a small amount of polishing powder, and then the handle was turned to let the hard brushes inside do their work."
This Victorian Knife Cleaner has a sturdy cast iron frame around an elm body. Inside there was leather mounted on the inner wheel around both edges so when a knife was pushed in, the leather would clean it as the wheel was turned. The Royal Coat of arms mounted on the body is made of brass. On the Royal Coat of Arms it says in French:-
"Honi soit qui mal y pense"
Which translates to:-
"Shame be to him who thinks evil of it"
Which was the motto of the English Chivalric Order of the Garter. Written underneath the Royal Coat of Arms on the same plaque is written in French:-
"Dieu et mon droit"
Which translates to:-
"God and my right"
Written on the front on the cast iron frame it says:-
"WILLIAM WHITTLEY LTD"
"WEST BOURNE GROVE.W"
William Whittley LTD was the name of the company that sold this knife cleaner that later became known as Whiteleys Department stores. This store was founded by William Whittley and was located in West Bourne Grove until it was burned down in 1897. While not relevant to this auction, the following is an interesting foot note in the life of William Whittley.
"On 24 January 1907, Whiteley was shot dead at his shop by Horace George Raynor aged 29, who claimed that he was Whiteley's illegitimate son. In his will he left £1,000,000 (a fabulous amount at that time), with which the Whiteley Village, near Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, was created."
This Victorian Knife Cleaner would make an excellent restoration project and would add a lot of character to any home.
We can arrange a courier as stated To the UK mainland only or you are more than welcome to organise your own courier. Collection in person is also welcome.
Those who are in the area and wish to view it, please contact us. More pictures are available. Please provide an e-mail address if you require more pictures.
As per picture, Please contact us if you have any questions.
We accept PayPal, Cheque (Please allow time to clear, Postal Order and Cash on Collection).