JOHN MCPHEE EVALUATES READERS’ PRECIOUS OBJECTS.
this implement at a clearing sale at a large property near Cudal, NSW, for around $15, and would love to know what it is. The only similar thing I can find on the internet is a vintage French flour sifter. Mine is hand-powered, but the metal wire on it is too small to be a grain and husk separator. It has a small sliding metal door and some stamps on each end, which are faded but seem to read ‘The Shell Company Australia Ltd’. I would love to know more! Nicole Evans, CARGO, NSW
This looks like a homemade flour sifter from the days when flour was not as finely ground. Yours would once have been mounted on a stand. Before electricity, every household, especially in the country, had a supply of kerosene lamps. The Shell Company produced kerosene in square tin cans that were transported in wooden boxes. Settlers put the empty tins and boxes to good use making furniture, sometimes called Depression furniture, but they were often made long before the 1930s. Even though incomplete, collectors of vintage kitchenalia and Australiana would appreciate your sifter.
John Mcphee is an art historian who worked in art museums for 30 years and was curator of Australian Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Australia.
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