Antique Boxes at the Sign of the Hygra
         2 Middleton Road, London, E8 4BL, UK.
         PHONE: 00 44 (0)20 7254 7074
News | Buyingemail Online History of boxes | The Schiffer Book

Writing box index

 thumbnail index of writing boxes

History of writing boxes

Request current  list of available writing boxes.

Online History of boxes

 

 

Antique Brass bound solid mahogany captain's box with complex secret compartments, Circa 1800

Please click on images to enlarge |  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Reference:  WB475

Description:
WB475: Important rare brass bound  solid mahogany ship captain's campaign writing box with complex secret drawers and compartments including a false bottom.  The box retains its original green felt writing surface, pounce  and inkwell. The box also has a screw down mechanism enabling it  be attached to a table. There is also a reading stand which is attached to the top surface when the box is held at an angle with an adjustable hinged brass catch. Circa 1800.

Origin: UK

Circa: 1800.

Size: 50.5 cm by 27.5 cm by 19 cm: 19.9  inches by 10.8  inches by 7.8 inches.

Condition: Good overall original condition working locks and keys.

 

WB475: Important rare brass bound  solid mahogany ship captain's campaign writing box with complex secret drawers and compartments including a false bottom.  The box retains its original green felt writing surface, pounce  and inkwell. The box also has a screw down mechanism enabling it  be attached to a table. There is also a reading stand which is attached to the top surface when the box is held at an angle with an adjustable hinged brass catch. Circa 1800. Enlarge Picture

 

WB475: Important rare brass bound  solid mahogany ship captain's campaign writing box with complex secret drawers and compartments including a false bottom.  The box retains its original green felt writing surface, pounce  and inkwell. The box also has a screw down mechanism enabling it  be attached to a table. There is also a reading stand which is attached to the top surface when the box is held at an angle with an adjustable hinged brass catch. Circa 1800. Enlarge Picture

The box retains its original green felt writing surface and inkwell. The box also has a screw down mechanism enabling it  be attached to a table. In this picture the screw can be seen coming out of the bottom of the box. 

Please click on images to enlarge |  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

The brass is  structural, protective, and ornamental. These boxes are constructed with dovetail joints and are built to survive the rigors of military and naval campaigns.   

 

 The box retains its original felt writing surface. There are spaces for storing papers under the flaps. The upper one of these has a false bottom. 

Both the flaps have locks which are opened with the same key.

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

 The head of the screw which is used to secure the box to a table is triangular. The key used to turn it is also in this picture.

Please click on images to enlarge

Enlarge Picture

 Here the key is in place.

 

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

 Detail of one of the strap hinges: all the slots of the iron screws have been lined up. The small hole in the felt is used to access the release mechanism for the false bottom.

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

 

Enlarge Picture

The box retains an original inkwell and a pounce pot.

 

 The box has a special key to tighten the screws which attach it to a table or deck.

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show   | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

There is also a reading stand which is attached to the top surface when the box is held at an angle with the hinged brass catch.

The reading stand was very useful in a time when light was either from window or candle. A book could be arranged to maximize the available light. 

The box enabled you to read and gather knowledge for longer.

Perhaps it inspired you to open it and start writing.

 

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show   | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

How to access the secrets:

Enlarge Picture
 The upper part has compartments for ink and pens. the central compartment has a supplementary lid. 

There is a sprung panel concealing the first nest of secret drawers. 

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

 

Enlarge Picture

The panel is released by pressing the floor of the central compartment

 

 In this picture the catch is visible

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show   | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

The small hole in the felt is used to access the release mechanism for the false bottom.

 

Enlarge Picture
 I found a watch makers screwdriver the ideal tool to release the false bottom

 

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

In this picture the false bottom is being lifted up by its springs.

 

 There is another panel concealing a further 3 secret drawers. This is in the space beneath the false bottom. The catch is released by pressing down on the wood at the back of drawer nest having first removed the drawer.
Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

 The catch which has to be released is just visible in this photo.
Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

The drawers are of fine dovetail construction.

They are both semi blind dovetail: they do not appear on the surface.

There is a description of dovetails in another box at: http://www.hygra.com/wb/wbmabrstrp.htm 

 

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

 

Enlarge Picture

In one of the drawers there were two piece of paper which my give a clue to an earlier owner.

 

"My dear Aunt Louisa
 I write to you a few lines to say Marianna was confined yesterday morning and we are very pleased it is a little boy. She sends her  ??? love to you and  Uncle John Trumain yours affectionately

Charlotte Langdale 

December 27th (18)59." 

There were a couple of pieces of paper in one of the drawers.

Enlarge Picture

 

 The other piece of paper looks like a child's early attempt at writing.
Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture
The drawers are of fine dovetail construction.

They are both semi blind dovetail: they do not appear on the surface.

There is a description of dovetails in another box at: http://www.hygra.com/wb/wbmabrstrp.htm 

 

 

Enlarge Picture
 Detail of the spring and catch  for the false bottom.

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show   | thumbnail index |

 

Enlarge Picture

To replace the false bottom it is pressed down in both corners to enable the catches to engage

 

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture
 In this picture I am pressing the panel back.

 

Enlarge Picture

 Both the flaps have locks which are opened with the same key.

 

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

Under the flaps there are places for storing papers. The reading stand is kept here when not in use.

 

 Detail of the riser for the reading stand

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge|  slide show  | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge| slide show   | thumbnail index |

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

 

Enlarge Picture

Please click on images to enlarge

Request current  list of available writing boxes.

News | Buyingemail Online History of boxes | The Schiffer Book

 

All text and images and linked images are 1999-2009 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com