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Rams Horn Scottish Snuff Mull

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Product Description

Rams Horn Scottish Snuff Mull with Pewter Mounts

Note: Because this is made of natural ram's horn, each is unique.

The practice of snuffing in Scotland began more than a hundred years earlier than it did in England. Scotsmen and women were taking snuff from the late sixteenth century, originally for its medicinal properties. The use of snuff was supposed to cure such ills as tooth-ache, catarrh, and "naughty breath." But snuff at this time contained no tobacco. Rather, it was made of the dried and powdered leaves of the Achillea Ptarmica plant, a member of the yarrow family. It was generally known as sneezewort by the 1590s, and had long been in use as a sternutatory herb. In Scotland, this herbal powder was know as sneeshin or shishon and the act of taking a pinch of the herb was sneesing. Scottish snuffers used a small quill to carry the snuff powder to the nose when they sneesed. Though the Scotsmen who accompanied James I to England took their sneeshin with them, it was not generally adopted in that country. By the decade of the Regency, the snuff taken by most Scotsmen and women was of the tobacco variety.

There were literally hundreds of varieties of tobacco snuff available throughout Britain during the Regency. A Scots gentlemen or lady might choose any variety that pleased their palette, but it seems that the most popular type of snuff throughout Scotland was that known as high-dried or high-toast snuff. All snuff was made of tobacco that was dried at low temperatures over many days. But high-dried snuff was made of tobacco that was dried for longer periods in higher temperatures, almost to the point of burning. Despite the high heat to which it was exposed, high-dried snuff was of a pale color. It was not typically flavored or perfumed as many snuff varieties were, since it had its own unique flavor. This snuff could include ground stems as well as leaves, which meant it was extremely strong and not for the novice snuffer. Many Scotsmen prided themselves on their ability to take this very strong unflavored type of snuff.

An important accoutrement for any sneesing Scotsman was his sneeshin miln. These objects are now known to collectors as snuff-mulls, due to the Scottish pronunciation of the word mill. Snuff mulls were made of a ram’s horn, the point of which was heated and curled into a tight scroll to keep it from rubbing a hole in the pocket. The exterior of the horn was sometimes left naturally rough, but more often was polished smooth. In the early mulls, the interior was usually left rough and might be enhanced with additional internal cuts which would be used by the snuff taker to grind his own snuff in the same device in which he carried it. The rims of most horns were fitted with pewter, silver or more rarely, gold hardware at the rim which provided the hinge for a cover typically made of horn, and a thumbpiece for opening the mull. Suspended from the rim there might also be some small tools necessary to the snuff taker. The top of the mull, whether or horn or of any other material, was occasionally embellished with the central placement of a cabochon or facet-cut cairngorm. A cairngorm is also often called a Scottish topaz. It is a precious stone of rock-crystal which can be yellow to reddish-brown in color which is only found in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands

There are a number of instances in which a table snuff-mull was made from a single ram's horn which retained its natural curl or a pair of ram's horn with pewter or silver mounts, including ornamented caps over the pointed end of the horns. There were also some table mulls made of a complete ram's head. Many of these table mulls had a number of small tools attached by fine chains, including a small spoon for scooping out the snuff, a small scaper to remove snuff from the walls of the mull, and a hare’s foot for use in brushing excess snuff from the upper lip. In a few instances, the full ram’s head mull has small wheels attached, enabling it to be pushed around the table for those taking snuff after a meal. These ornate table mulls were usually made for and used in the officer’s mess of a Scottish regiment, or in the grand home of a noble Scottish laird.

(from The Regency Redingote)


Produced by Edwin Blyde of Sheffield

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Any order over $200 will receive free ground shipping.

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You may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. We'll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error (you received an incorrect or defective item, etc.)

You should expect to receive your refund within four weeks of giving your package to the return shipper, however, in many cases you will receive a refund more quickly. This time period includes the transit time for us to receive your return from the shipper (5 to 10 business days), the time it takes us to process your return once we receive it (3 to 5 business days), and the time it takes your bank to process our refund request (5 to 10 business days).

If you need to return an item, please Contact Us with your order number and details about the product you would like to return. We will respond quickly with instructions for how to return items from your order.

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