Beakers

As a development from the drinking horn the more conventional horn beaker was the vessel for everyday use from about the 17th century onwards. Beakers were formed from a heated, unslit section of horn which was forced onto a metal or wooden former and removed when cooled to be finished. The base was commonly formed from a disc of horn but sometimes glass, and inserted into a groove at the narrow end of the horn whilst the material was hot. On cooling the horn would contract to make a watertight joint. Most beakers were simply polished which brought out the natural colouring of the horn (1 - 12), whilst others were mounted with silver rims and shields to carry family crests for example (13).

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Others were engraved with hunting scenes (14 & 15), decorative scroll work, scenes or objects relevant to the owner or names and dates (16). Some beakers were also stained to simulate other materials such as tortoiseshell.

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For ease of carrying, some beakers were made in graduated sections which collapsed down when not in use (17 - 20). This required precision workmanship to ensure they did not leak when filled with liquid.

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