What Is It? September 2022

 William McLaren of Anchorage, Alaska has come to the rescue again. He tells us, “September’s What Is It is a wrought iron Courting Candle Holder.  These spiral shaped candle holders were popular in the 1600’s to 1800’s, and probably came to the States with German settlers.  The iron bowl attached to the bottom of the spiral holder was used to catch any melting candle wax (for possible reuse).  The three raised feet kept the heat of the bowl off any flammable surface. This particular candle holder appears to be missing the “candle cradle” underneath the candle.  The candle cradle is shaped like a candle stub with a little handle in one side.  The cradle fits inside the spiral holder just below the candle, and the handle pokes out between the spiral arms. The candle is moved up or down by turning or spinning the little handle. Thus the device may be used as a timer, depending on how much of the candle is exposed above the top of the spiral. The lore behind the name is that the candles could be used to determine the length of time a suitor could spend courting the homeowner’s daughter. The suitor could do his courting until the candle burned down to the top of the spiral.  The amount of candle available to burn at the start of the period depended upon the father’s impression of the suitor’s prospects.
 Other readers who correctly identified this object as a courting candle include Christine Green of Westminster, Colorado; Dede Horan of Englewood, Colorado; Jeannie Reynolds of Nederland, Colorado and Jacque Rutledge, Tyler Hill, Pennsylvania.
 Thank you for entering our contest. You have all won a year’s subscription to the Mountain States Collector.

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