January 14, 2015

Paul Revere Whistle And Teething Stick


While doing a little research on Paul Revere the other day, I came across this: "His most unusual items were made before the Revolution, when he crafted a chain for a pet squirrel an ostrich egg snuffbox, and a child's whistle."

So far I have not turned up the squirrel leash, but I think this is the kid's whistle above, in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. It is outfitted with jingle bells, which seems like it'd just add insult to injury; what a horrible, sleep-depriving idea to give a kid both bells and whistles. The red part is apparently coral, and another inventory list of the Worcester collection lists this as a whistle/teething toy. Turns out coral, ivory, and bone were used for teething pacifiers beginning at least in the 16th century. Right around the time some French doctor thought that kids needed their gums lanced so the teeth could break through.

Maybe the whistle was actually meant to drown out the screams.

Whistle & Bells [and Teething Toy], 1795-1800, Paul Revere silver collection, Worcester Art Museum [wikimedia]

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