In your most recent issue you asked readers to write in about family furniture that has some history.
This tallboy, as it’s called, is about 150 years old. My recorded family tree and lineage goes back about 400 years – yes 400 – but let’s pick up from about 1925 when my father was eight years old and lived in London. My grandfather was a businessman, but a military man as well, and was away quite a lot.
In those days children were seen and not heard. My dad, Robin White, used to call his father “Sir”. For company and probably also to take care of my dad, he used to see his aunt Billy a lot – yes, Billy. They were very close, but then the family moved to South Africa. When aunt Billy died she left this chest to my dad. It was shipped out from England to Cape Town, where we lived as a family.
On the top of the chest, you will see a carriage clock that is also about 150 years old. It is French movement eight days wind up and keeps exact time. Don’t ask what it cost to have a new spring put in when I sent it to Switzerland a couple of years ago. The clay and wax miniature tabletop sculptures are my mom’s work; she is still alive at 95 years old. The picture is my eldest daughter, Kathryn. She is the author of the books on the desk.
There is maintenance and loving care to look after this piece. I use a Pro-nature wax balm for the polished veneer wood and on the inside I use Furnigloss, which is the red liquid polish in a 500 ml bottle on the shelves at Pick n Pay. It lubricates the wood-on-wood sliding part of the drawers. It really makes difference and is a great preservative to keep the structure from drying out.
There are other very interesting pieces of family furniture, but this is a start. If there is more interest, I’d be happy to contribute. as yours, except making use of your thumb and elbow as the pivot points each time crossing over to make a figure eight. When done you simply tilt your hand down and the wound-up cable slips off your thumb. I use this even today and my extensions are not twisted and seem to last forever. A bonus is that the lead seldom becomes tangled when laying out.
I hope this can be of use to someone. It takes a while to get the knack of wrapping around your forearm, but with a couple of tries you will be able to master this and be amazed at actually how simple and effective the method is.