Featured Antique Wax-Melting Stove (London, Ca. 1900).

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Shangas, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    I thought it might be for sealing wine-bottles too. But I guess it can be used for any sort of wax-sealing process. What I love is how much of the original wax is still in there!!

    And yes, Bronwen - that is EXACTLY how the wax looked, when I bought it. One big, hard, red BLOCK of wax. That knob puzzled me as well. I suspect it was either the tail-end of a stick of wax that was dumped in there, or else, the leftovers of someone who scooped out some wax to seal something.

    What you see there is only a SMALL amount of the wax, though. It's gotta be a good inch deep at least. And if you look at the marks on the sides of the pan - you can see that originally, the wax would've gone right up almost to the top.
    KikoBlueEyes, judy and Bronwen like this.
  2. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Is there wax residue up to the same height on all four walls?

    I like the wine bottle hypothesis. I have one other thought. I have never seen a really thorough explanation of the process & material used for making 'sulphur' gem impressions. They were collected in vast numbers at one time.



    I don't know whether the 'sulphur' was liquid or the consistency of modeling clay when in mold.
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  3. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Intriguing, Shangas.
    Now to the more important question, did you start a café?:)
  4. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    No! That's my local cafe, where I sometimes go after antiquing at the Sunday market. It has free WIFI (or more specifically, it pinches free WIFI from the bank next door), so it's easy to photograph stuff there and upload the images online!
  5. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!


    In diamond and precious stones trading, the stones parcels are identified, and shipped in boxes sealed like that. If the seal is broken, the stones may not be those which were traded and shipped...

    Your device was for commercial use, but for sealing bottles, much more wax should be necessary;)
  6. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    I tried heating up the wax using the burner. Despite two and a half hours of heating, the wax softened, but didn't turn liquid. I don't think this is for sealing bottles. The depth of wax required to do that just couldn't be handled by something like this, I don't think.

    I reckon it's for sealing documents and parcels on a large scale.
  7. Houseful

    Houseful Well-Known Member

    9C380462-939D-4AF7-BDAC-8D5845E59181.jpeg Don’t know if this helps but thought it was interesting.
  8. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes On Road Trip

    What a sensational item. I agree with you as there is a handle for carry it from place to place, so I can see a large room with desks and clerks busily packaging something and calling the boy to bring over the wax to seal it. Congratulations!
    kyratango, Any Jewelry and Bronwen like this.
  9. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    I agree it is fab. I can not help out with what it is to be used with tho.
    I remember back in the day when I thought I was hip to melt wax and stamp it on my envelopes to friends. I probably still have the old wax stick here somewhere.
  10. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    MAYBE it was in a LARGE office???????????:rolleyes::rolleyes:

    I also wonder if heating AND THEN RE-HEATING POSSIBLY MANY TIMES, would change the "chemistry?" of the wax at all making it harder to liquify???
    I think I made that understandable.....
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  11. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    I have a signet ring stuck away somewhere, and it was fun once upon a time to seal letters with it......using the sticks I mentioned....with different colors!!
  12. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    You did, and maybe that is what happened.:)
  13. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    What's inside the pan is traditional sealing wax. I can tell that already just by how it feels.

    Candle-wax melts soft. And it's very 'soft' and waxy to the touch.

    SEALING-wax - traditional sealing-wax, that is - is VERY hard. It's like tapping plastic. If you run your fingernail down a candlestick - the wax comes away in your nails. If you do that with a stick of sealing wax - nothing. That's because when sealing wax dries, traditionally, it dries ROCK HARD. That's the whole POINT. That way, the wax SHATTERS and CRACKS the moment any stress is applied to it. That's because the whole point of sealing wax is to act as a tampering device. If ANY attempt to open the parcel or letter or document is made - the wax immediately breaks and shatters. It would be obvious at once that a document had been opened before it had reached its intended recipient, etc.

    Unfortunately, the quality that makes sealing wax ideal for its purpose (being brittle so that it can't be re-sealed, preventing forgery) also makes it hard to melt. I can well imagine that if you tried to melt this much wax using matches, you'd go through a box a day, easily - hence the stove.

    Now, these days you can buy sealing wax which has a different consistency - it's softer (more like candle-wax) but not as weak, so that it still holds documents shut. What's in the pan is not this stuff. It's just too hard and chunky.
    kyratango, Aquitaine and KikoBlueEyes like this.
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