I find lots of interesting and unknown items when I’m out searching for treasure. This week on our facebook site I posted one of them. It’s by Haviland (Limoges), about 5″ high and has a hole in the bottom so clearly it’s not an ice bucket. 😀
What is it: A condensed milk holder.
What, you might ask, is condensed milk? and why did someone need a holder for it? Condensed milk is a shelf-stable, concentrated form of milk that has about 60 percent of its water content removed and a great deal of sugar added. (Evaporated milk is basically the same product without the sugar added.) The milk is cooked down until it becomes a gooey, sweet substance with a caramelized flavor and a light brown color. It was especially popular at breakfast.these were created to hide the can when it was on the table. The large round hole in the center of the bottom was there to facilitate the removal of the commercial can or jar for later storage.
When: peak popularity was at the turn of the 20th century – so about 1890 – 1920.
Where: Europe and North America
The Rest of the Story: Condensed milk was a product created out of tragedy.
The story goes that in 1852 Gail Borden, (of Borden Milk) was on a sea voyage between Europe and America. Also on that voyage were one or two infants who were to be fed milk from cattle which were also on board. Unfortunately for the babies the crossing was unrelentingly rough and the seasick cows stopped producing milk. Apparently at least one of the babies died on the journey as a result. This tragedy resulted in his desire to produce a line of evaporated milk that would not spoil. Evaporated milk had been successfully created in the 1820s but he perfected the product in 1854 and patented the idea in 1857. It did not become popular until the turn of the century. Condensed and evaporated milk were heavily used as soldier rations in WW I also.
Value: Complete examples – with lid, underplate and in good condition $60 – $120 on average. Exceptional examples can go from $200 – $1200.
*all sale values from Worthpoint.