last update 2018-12-06 1409



These brass snuff-boxes date from between the late 17th and early 19th Centuries.

The two arrows and the sun have to be turned to point in the correct directions, then the moon will slide and the lid can be opened.

The reverse of this box is inscribed "John Ware his Box".


The photo opposite shows how the simple but puzzling mechanism works.


In 2019, 30 years after buying this Sun & Mood tobacco box, and 11 years after writing this web page, we were approached by a BBC television program "Make Me a Dealer". One of their competitors had found a pair to our box. We bought it and think we have now solved a great mystery:-

Inside the box below the hinge is a large brass peg and we had no idea what it was for.

Our original box is on the left and the newly acquired on on the right.

Here you can clearly see the mysterious pegs.



The new box had a hole through the hinge which showed signs of wear. Now very close inspection of the old box on the right showed that it had also once had a hole which had been closed.

The theory now is that a loop of cord or fine chain could be passed through the hole and over the peg and thus be used to hang the box from the belt or a peg in the workshop. Thus giving ready access to the tobacco only to those who knew the combination.

Please email us if you know of any other purpose for the peg.


2008 Index

Back to Front