We had two correct answers for our October What Is It. Judy Hess of Greeley, Colorado and Jerome McLaren of Conifer, Colorado both identified the item as a foot warmer.
This particular foot warmer is from the 1890s. It is lined with raccoon fur. It served a dual purpose: closed, it kept a lady’s feet toasty, when the tooled Moroccan-leather top was opened, it revealed a hidden jewel box. This is an accessory often associated with horse-drawn carriages.
Carriage foot warmers come in a variety of types. One kind is made of tin overlaid with carpeting; a small drawer holds lighted coals. Another one is simply a block of soapstone, which retains heat very efficiently; it could be preheated in a fireplace before being placed in a carriage. A fur-lined foot warmer was used like a muff for the feet.
Congratulations to our winners for identifying our What Is It. They have won a year’s subscription to the Mountain States Collector.