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Hinged Lizard

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Kitchen2345 of 7691im trying two find out around when this stove was has.No DIADEM UNIVERSITY 16.THREE DOORS AND TWO BURNER PLATESHand Painted Creamer
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (1 item)

    I found this brass lizard figure at a local christmas fair here in the South of France. The dealer had no idea what it is for, nor do I.
    It is about 12 inches long, and weighs in at about 3.4 pounds (1.5 kilograms).
    It opens to reveal 4 different size smooth half cylinders in the bottom part, with the corresponding half cylinder in the top half being much less smooth.
    It is not high precision, the top fitting well but certainly not perfectly into the bottom.
    I cannot find any identifying marks.
    It fascinates me - yet it is completely incomprehensible to me!

    Mystery Solved
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    1. TassieDevil TassieDevil, 5 years ago
      This reminds me of a nut cracker.........I have seen them as brass crocodiles, but I like your lizard!!
    2. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Nut cracker.
    3. frank4360, 5 years ago
      I can't really see this as a nut cracker. The smooth half-cylinders on the lower half don't look as if they are designed to catch a kernel but I will try it out on a number of nuts and report back.
    4. frank4360, 5 years ago
      I have just looked up crocodile nutcrackers, and they all use the jaw as the cracker - so I am certain this is not the right answer!
    5. Manikin Manikin, 5 years ago
      No to big for one for a Nut cracker . I was beginning to think book scrapper since when open it is 24 in long !
    6. frank4360, 5 years ago
      Interesting! I didn't understand the "book scrapper", but it made me wonder if you meant some sort of book rest? This can't be, because the top only opens a little way - the pictures show it at its maximum, possibly 60 degrees.
    7. Caperkid, 5 years ago
      How wide is the cylinder width. My thought might be for packing cigarettes.
    8. frank4360, 5 years ago
      There are 4 half-cylinders; all of different widths ranging from 8 millimetres to 15 millimetres. The widest is 34 millimetres in length, and the other 3 are all 30 millimetres long.
      I don't think it could be used for cigarettes, and the fact that the upper part of each cylinder (in the top part of the lizard's body, the part that swings open) is not smooth makes me think it could not be used to mould a full cylinder of material.
      Something could be poured into the bottom half-cylinders, but it would be difficult to extract anything soft like wax from the "mould" without damage.
    9. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      "Mâche bouchons", used by apothicarians to press/shape the cork stoppers to seal their potions.

      I worked at a chemist, and we had one in the collection of pharmacy antiques!

      See the French models here: (use google translator!)

    10. TassieDevil TassieDevil, 5 years ago
      Woohoo Kyra!!!! well done!!
    11. frank4360, 5 years ago
      Perfect!! Many thanks for solving the mystery.

      Interestingly the exact same item was in a gallery sale and can be seen here:-

      I was wrong in saying it is made of brass, since the gallery describes it as made of bronze.

      And for those interested in knowing why it is called "mâche-bouchon", literally "chew-cork" - before about 1850 the French pharmacist would chew the cork in his mouth to squeeze it to fit in the bottle top!

      Thanks again Kyratango!!
    12. TallCakes TallCakes, 5 years ago
      so it's an apothecary cork press! many thanks for the solve kyratango!!!
    13. kyratango kyratango, 5 years ago
      You're very welcome Frank, thanks for the thanks, and... welcome to CW :-))

      Thanks Tassie and TallCakes ;-)

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