Craven Museum has over 60,000 objects, spanning geology, archaeology, natural history, and social history of work and home life. Below you can browse some of the amazing objects from our collections. We will be adding new objects on a regular basis.
Object number: G68
Lamb feeders are both a simple and practical way to serve milk and food to lambs. The date of the bottle is unknown, but seems to range from the late Victorian era to the early 20th Century. As Craven is renowned for its agriculture, such an object was commonplace amongst its many farming communities. It has a pewter metal casing with a pear shaped body and a screw cap with a teat hole in a centre round knob. The bottle’s measurements are 140mm in height with a 75mm diameter.
Object number: 2016.9
This egg weigher was made in Germany during the 1930’s and used in the UK during World War Two. At the time of its use, farmers weighed their eggs before sending them to the egg marketing board to be redistributed for rationing. Farmers would only get paid for eggs over a certain size, therefore this device could check whether the egg was big enough before sending to the egg board. Any eggs that were too small could be kept by the farmer.
Object number: D1625.3
A poultice is a soft moist mass, which is a medicated ointment spread onto an inflamed area of the body. This is commonly used on horses to relieve inflammation and is usually used on the lower legs of the horse to focus treatment on easily damaged tendons in that particular area. A bran mesh was used on the pocket of the swollen horse’s foot when treating the wound. It was made of leather and metal. The word poultice originated from the latin puls meaning porridge, which alludes to the lumpy, sticky mass of the mixture.
Romano-British ceramic biscuit or pastry mould
Object number: B15
On the back of the mould is a small handle. It is likely that the mould was used by holding the handle and pressing the mould into the pastry or dough, just like how modern biscuit cutters are used.
Whipping Tops consist of a wooden top which is attached to a stick by a piece of string. The top is spun by wrapping the string around the body of the top and then launching. The stick enables the rotation of the top to be maintained by whipping the side of the top. The toys are popular all over the world. In Japan they have a similar type of top called a Koma, with each city having a unique design. In Latin America they are called Trompos, where championships are held in countries like Mexico, Peru and Cuba.
Object number: T2428
A water barometer is a weather prediction device invented by Lucien Vidi. It was invented as a theoretical device based on the Gothe concept of a weather ball barometer. It is a pear shaped rusted glass flask with a long uprooted spout, which is open to the atmosphere. The body is sealed with liquid in order to demonstrate air pressure. When the air pressure is lower than it was at the time the body was sealed, the water level in the spout will rise above the water level in the body. Once the air pressure is higher, the water level in the spout will drop below the water level in the body. It is dated from around the 19th Century.
Object number: 2012.1094.1-3
These are a type of waving irons called Marcels. These were used to create the hairstyle known as the Marcel Wave. This style was first introduced in the 1870s but was particularly popular in the 1920s. The irons were heated on a gas stove or burner. Many irons had wooden handles to allow for a safe area to hold the hot items but these have metal handles. After checking the temperature by touching the iron to a piece of paper (too hot and it would burn the paper), a section of hair was wrapped around the tongs to produce waves. The irons came in several sizes to produce different sizes of waves or curls. Electric versions of waving and curling irons were first introduced in the 1920s. However, non-electric hair irons such as these were in use until about the 1950s.
Object number: D3052.2
This is an antique patent pocket calculator manufactured by William Henry Fowler from 1910 to 1914. The calculator is made from glass, metal and paper. It measures 70mm in diameter and the front scales are for multiplication (3 scales), logs and sine’s. The rear scales are for finding cubes and cube roots. The crown drives the front dial and the button in the centre of the back drives the rear dial and the pointer over the front dial. This style of calculator was only made in the years from 1910 to 1914. This is presented in a maroon card case with instruction manual. Fowler’s were established in Manchester in 1898 and continued until 1988 when the company was liquidated. Apart from this calculator, it made many other types of calculators.
Object number: D2712
This object is a binocular type device, which enables the audience to watch performances more clearly. The glasses are decorated with a silver and black coloured bird design. These were most likely to have been produced by the ‘London Opera Glass Company’. The origins of these particular glasses are unknown, although opera glasses were first in evidence as early as 1730. The glasses are produced from metal and glass. The measurements are 115mm in length and 65mm in width. The recommended magnification ranges from 3x to 5x and can be used by adapting the focus wheel. Opera Glasses such as this one pictured, are often made by using expensive material such as gold or pearl and reflect the wealth of the audience member.
Replica of a tooth from an Ichthyosaur, a large marine reptile that thrived during the Early Jurassic period between 201 and 174 Million years ago. Ichthyosaurs evolved in parallel to the ancestors of Cetaceans like whales and dolphins and eventually evolved to resemble dolphins. They ranged in size from one to sixteen metres in length and had the largest eye sockets of all known vertebrates. Their teeth were conical shaped which is typical of fish eating species. There are instances of adult Ichthyosaurs becoming toothless. The museum has an Ichthyosaur skull and vertebrae in its collection, both from the Yorkshire Coast although Ichthyosaur skeletons are commonly found on the famed Jurassic Coast in South West England. The earliest illustrations of Ichthyosaur skull date from 1699 .The first complete Ichthyosaur was found by Joseph Anning, brother of famous fossil collector Mary Anning in 1811. A year later, Mary found the torso from the same specimen.
The fossilised spine from an echinoid or sea-urchin. Echinoids belong to the group Echinoderms which include starfish, sea cucumbers, crinoids and brittle stars. Echinoderms first appeared in the Cambrian period over 500 million years ago and Echinoids appeared later in the Ordovician period, around 450 million years ago. When most Echinoids die their spines fall off rapidly and become preserved in the fossil record. An echinoid fossil consists of a solitary spine or a group of spines, though whole fossilised echinoids can be found, though these are rare.
Floating Dairy Thermometer
Object number: 2011.197
A dairy thermometer used in making dairy produce. The thermometer is designed to float on the surface, so that the temperature can constantly be checked. This is important if you are trying to make dairy produce such as cheese, where the temperature has to be kept at a constant.
Stone Axe Head
Object number: A38a
A stone axe head found in the North Sea on an island called Dogger Bank. The axe head is made from Volcanic tuff, which is solidified volcanic soil, and came from either Germany or the Lake District. The axe head is over 5,500 years old and at this time the island of Dogger Bank was submerged under 10 metres of water. This suggests that they were thrown into the water by Fisherman, as an offering to their ancestors.
Object number: D970
This is an aeroplane dart used by Biplanes during the First World War. The darts of flechettes were dropped by aircraft onto infantry. The dart is made of steel and has a vaned tail for stability. The darts varied in size from 2.5 cm (1 inch) to 15 cm (6 inches). As many as 500 darts could dropped at one time.
Object number: D1890
A bottle opener used for opening Codd bottles. Codd bottles were invented in 1872 by soft drink manufacturer Hiram Codd. The bottles had a marble in the neck to prevent gas escaping. The bottles were filled upside which pressed the marble against the rubber washer in the neck, sealing the bottle. The bottles were pinched into a particular design to create a chamber into which the marble was pushed to open the bottle, which prevented the marble from blocking the neck of the bottle when poured.
This is a replica of a fossil of the extinct plant Calamites Suckowi, which is closely related to modern horsetails and contained spores in cones. Calamites came from the coal swamps in the Carboniferous period, 360 to 300 million years ago. The word Calamites refers to the casts of the stem from the plants. Horsetails first appeared in the late Devonian just before the beginning of the Carboniferous. Land plants first originated around 475 million years ago.
Object number: D449
Mouse trap made of wire twisted into two spirals which can be set apart with a straight wire cord and then sprung. References to mousetraps date back to ancient Greece in the comic epic the “Battle of Frogs and Mice”. They also reference in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The conventional mousetrap consisting of a block of a wood and a spring loaded mechanism was invented in 1884 and still the most commonly used today.
Object number: D1056.4
A skirt lifter was used by women to lift up the hem of their skirts to prevent from becoming dirty when travelling around town during the Victorian times. The lifters were attached at the waist by a ribbon or chatelaine. Skirt lifters were much more desirable than using safety pins which could damage sensitive fabrics. Women would also use them whilst doing other activities such as dancing, horse-riding and riding a bicycle.
Object number: T1434
This match dispenser which was used to store matches and keep them dry. The word match comes from the old French mèche which means wick of a candle. It is believed that matches originated from China as early as 577AD. Before matches people would have to light tinder either by striking flint and steel or by focusing a lens on the sun. The first modern self-igniting match was developed in 1805 by Jean Chancel.
Object number: T1329
Pot hook used to hang cooking pots over a fire. The iron bar has eight “key holes” where the hooks would be inserted. The pot hook has a curved hook at the top and rounded hook at the bottom, giving the pot hook its shape. Pot hooks were used extensively throughout the Mediaeval periods but later were replaced by stoves. However, they were still in use in the 20th century in farmhouse kitchens and cottages, as well as artisan’s houses.
A tooth belonging to Ptychodus decurrens, a species of shark that existed during the Late Cretaceous and went extinct around 85 million years ago. Ptychodus were durophagus, which means they ate shells, which is why their teeth were specially designed for crushing and grinding. The majority of Ptychodus inhabited the West Interior Sea, which split the continent of North America in half. Other specimens have been found around the world, including the United Kingdom, where the first Ptychodus fossil was found. The first Ptychodus tooth was found in Kansas in 1868. Pthychodus had many teeth, up to 550.
Object number: 2004.70
These scissors would have been used by a tailor to accurately out fabric in order to create patterns. The scissors have one straight and one bent angle blade. At the end there is a round thumb hole and an oblong finger hole. This is designed for both comfort during long cutting, the oblong hole allow the cutter to rest their index finger, and accurate cutting as the bend in the blade prevents the fabric from lifting off the work surface. These particular scissors were used at Petty’s Taylors at Crosshills up until 1910.
Object number: TS2013.245
A branding iron is used for branding, pressing a heated metal shape against an object or livestock with the intention of leaving a mark on the animal. This was made out of iron and is marked in a ‘S’ shape. A heating process manufactured the iron where a burning rod is tattooed onto the skin of the animal. Branding livestock is done in order to identify the owner.
Object number: T4009
A castration clamp is a metal object with a scissor action at the top end, which is blunt with slight serration blades, whilst the handle has a gradation mechanism. It is made from metal and the whole length is 250mm (9.8in). The manufacturers logo appears on this particular instrument and is dated from the 1850’s. The manufacturer was WH Hutchinson, who were surgical instrument makers to both the army and the navy. Hutchinson’s were based in Sheffield and specialised in making amputation tools for both veterinary and human purposes.
Object number: D434
A laundry crimping machine which was used to smooth out a maid’s collars and cuffs after cold water washing and starching. This would have been an essential tool for anyone in service in the 19th century. This particular crimping machine consists of Iron legs, brass rollers and mechanism, a wooden handle and a finial on top. It is 24cm in height and 34cm in width including handle.
Object number: 703a
This is a retractable cigar piercer or bullet punch, which is used to cut a hole in the cigar cap and create an opening which allows the person to smoke through. The piercer is 75 mm in length and 10mm in diameter and its outer case is made of metal. There is an inscription on the outer case reading crump cream crackers patent no 6958 made in Austria.
Crochet Hooks and Case
Object number: TS2013.810
This a set of crochet hooks. These are used to make loops in a thread or yarn of wool. This makes it easier to pull a loop back through the material. This particular set includes a small engraved case in which to put the hooks onto. It is made of rusted metal and is dated from the 6th December 1873. This is one of the earlier examples of a crochet hook and appeared as an individual form of textile art during this period. The measurements of the crochet hook (including the casing) are 100mm in width by 25mm in diameter.
Object number: 456a
A draughtsman’s pen otherwise known as a technical pen. The pen would allow the draughtsman’s to draw lines more accurately by adjusting the thickness of lines. his pen is a fountain pen dates from around The 1950’s.To release ink the shaft is depressed and a line of about the width of the exterior diameter of the tube can be drawn. The pen has a steel nib and has a handle made from bone. The Whole length of the pen is 127 mm.
Object number: TS2013.60
A mapograph is a cartographical tool, where an map is etched onto a rubber roller. The roller is then inked up and rolled onto a blank piece of paper transferring the image onto the paper. Mapographs were commonly used in schools to educate children on a variety of subjects from geography. In this case the mapograph is a map of Ireland. Other examples within the museum’s collection include etches of the Human eye and Victorian dresses.
Object number: D1784.3
This fire blower was used to gently blow on iron embers to get a fire going. It may have also been used to sharpen objects such as knives. This is a square box with a curved top and was used to handle projects from one side. There was a square hole at the back. The top of the box is decorated with a pattern of impressed flowers. Inside the blower are cogs and gears. This was manufactured from metal and wood. It measured 150mm in height, 175mm in length and the whole width is 152mm. It was produced from 1870 to 1920.
Fire hose end
Object number: 2011.32.2
This is a fire hose end which was used by the Belle Vue Mill fire service. Fire crews were essential as the cotton mills were a constant fire hazard as the cotton was particularly sensitive to heat and humidity and the cotton fibres in the air could react dangerously with the gas lit interior. This, combined with the timber infrastructure and the constant friction of moving machinery, meant that many mills including in the craven district were gutted by fires.
Object number: T2286
A woman’s watch chain which would have been used to secure a pocket watch to a belt loop, lapel or waistcoat. The chain is a heavy triple link chain with a key shaped end. The chains entire length is 70mm (2.75 in). Often if a chain would have been too cumbersome or likely to catch on things then a leather strap or a fob would have been used instead. Pocket watches were first developed in the 16th century and were the most popular form of watch until the First world war when the trench watch was developed as pocket watches were not suitable for battle. The watch had hinged front and back covers like a pocket watch but was worn on the wrist. Wrist watches evolved from this design.
Object number: T2278.a
This is a phonograph cylinder. A phonograph is the earliest example of recording and reproducing sound. Thomas Edison invented phonographs in July 1877. The material is made from black plastic or Bakelite. The serial number is 6823. The measurements are 112mm in length and 55mm in diameter. This particular song was ‘Remember Me To Mother Dear’ by F Miller and his orchestra. The title is etched on the diameter of the cylinder. These were commonly known as “records” and these hollow cylindrical objects have an audio recording engraved on the outside surface, which can be reproduced when they are played on a mechanical cylinder phonograph. In the 1910s, the competing disc record system triumphed in the marketplace to become the dominant market leader in audio.
Object number: D3234.67g
A shillelagh is a stout wooden stick or club usually associated with Irish folklore. Shillelaghs were originally used to solve as a form of self-defence to settle arguments in a duel. The club is traditionally made from blackthorn or oak. Wood from the root of the tree was preferred as it was less likely to crack. The wood was the covered in butter or lard and the left in a chimney to cure, giving the stick its shiny appearance. This Shillelagh has a t-shaped end with the word Irish, a harp and a clover carved onto it.
Plaster of Paris Spreader
Object number: D3137.7
A plaster of Paris spreader is a medical tool used in the applying of bandages to broken bones. The spreader would be used to apply the plaster to the bandage, which then set to become an orthopaedic cast. The spreader is a metal tool with a broad flat end and a turned wooden handle. This particular spreader was donated to the museum by Murray’s chemists which was located on the high street in Skipton.
Wheelwright’s Measuring Wheel
Object number: D2539
A measuring tool used by a wheelwright to measure cart like wheels. A wheelwright is a person who repairs or builds wooden wheels. The skill dates back to the middle ages and it seems was Yorkshire in Origin, which may have been because of York’s geographical location halfway between London and Edinburgh. This particular measuring wheel was used by the smithy at Gargrave.
Object number: D1451.18
A pen wiper used to clean the ink from a fountain pen after it had been used. This pen wiper is an oblong box with a removal brush. It has long sides like book ends which have four pen rests all on an oblong base. The box is made of polished light wood with coloured marquetry; the designs at the end show the figures of two women and a travelling man. On either side of the brush the decoration shows a garland of flowers and leaves on one side and a bird on nest with flowers on the other.
Object number: D710
A snuffbox is a box, which contain small quantities of tobacco. These were popular especially in the 19th century when it was a more convenient use of inhaling tobacco. This particular box was oval shaped with a decorative design of carved bone, horn or ivory. The colour is cream whilst the lid is inlaid black. The measurements are 65mm in length, 40mm in width and 27mm in depth.According to the feint carvings on the shell of the box, it was produced in 1856. The words ‘G’ and ‘B’ are also visible on the shell.
Object number: D355.2
A pendulum is a swing weight which in this instance belonged to a pendulum clock. The pendulum swings from side to side. The swinging motion allows the movement of a lever. This unlocks the clock mechanism which is controlled by the movement of a falling weight. This creates the tick-tock sound. Pendulum clocks were invented in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens and were widely used until the 1930’s. They were the standard method of timekeeping as their accuracy suited the faster pace of life which came with the industrial revolution.
Object number: D169
This is a mould for a soup spoon. The mould is made from two parts of cast iron made from wooden handles. The spoon has a square end to the handle. The mould dates from around the 17th Century. These moulds were designed to take mouton metal through a pouring hole. The cutlery would be filed into shape (thus removing excess metal) and then polished. This method was convenient as it reduced the labour time to manufacture the product. By the beginning of the 18th Century, these moulds became obsolete as a new method to produce cutlery was introduced by pressing the object from a metal plate.
Object number: D112
Veterinary instrument used to draw or remove cow’s teeth. This procedure would have been done to prevent further tooth decay. The tool was made by instrument maker W Browskill. The instrument has a metal shaft with the jaw end slightly offset. There is a right-angled hinge to grasp teeth it has a slightly serrated edge. The handle has a tourniquet action. The whole length of the tool is 360mm.
Pocket balance scales
Object number: 2002.15.8
Set of pocket balance scales. This is operated by a spring with a bronze on the face of the scales. The scales are measured in pounds ranging from 0-25lbs. It consists of rusted metal and measures 185mm in length. A ring is at the top with a grey metal hook at the back. It was manufactured by Carnos.
Object number: 2001.8
This is a surveyor’s level or dumpy level which is an optical instrument used to establish or verify points in the same horizontal plane. This part of the level is the telescope which is fitted onto a tripod. The surveyor’s level was invented by civil engineer William Gravatt in 1832 who had been asked to examine the south east railway scheme from London to Dover and wanted an easier and more transportable level than the customary Y level. This level was used by Craven District council between 1932 and 1950 and the level was made by Watts in 1932.
Spring foot rest
Object number: 2001.7
A Terry spring foot rest designed for a passenger motorist. The footrest is made of metal and wood. It was made in 1957 by Herbert Terry and Sons of Redditch, a company who specialised in making springs and made the springs for the iconic Anglepoise lamp, as well as springs for mirrors, chest expanders, aircraft and motor vehicles and many other items.
Object number: 27
A splicer is used in rope making and is the forming of a temporary joint between two ropes. A splice is much stronger than a knot as it is much reliable than a knot. There are several types of splice ranging from a back splice to a side splice depending on the technique on how the splice is presented. This splice in particular is a wooden hand held tool or a ‘fid’ which is shaped to a rounded point at one end.
Object number: 347
Gun flints were used in guns like flintlock muskets and pistols. They produced a spark when they struck steel and this fired the gun. The flints were replaced quite often because when they became worn the gun would misfire. Gun flints were produced in many countries, but the majority of gun flints were made in Britain and France.
Oral History: Margaret Robinson
OH4 Childhood Sundays
“Sundays, after we’d been to Sunday School in the afternoon we always went out as a family, walking. The day my father got dressed up, with his button hole and his lapel, and we’d all got for a walk across the fields or round White Hills, right round, or all the various footpaths in the area. And Dad was particularly good at birds and flowers, he could always find the birds nest. So you’d see a bird’s nest being built one week and the next Sunday you’d go and you’d see three little eggs in it and you’d go a bit later on and see little birds, or whatever. So he always interested us in natural history.”
Oral History: Arthur Hudson
“An’ then there was also the times when the canal would freeze over. Well they ‘ad icebreakers. Now these were boats. They were long an’ narrow with a mast up at each end, an’ the rope fastened from one mast to the other. An’ the men, two or three men would stand in the boat. It was quite a narrow boat. They would stand in the boat an’ they would rock it from side to side to break the ice, an’ then get the horse moving, pulling the boat an’ as the horse pulled the boat, they were swinging it from side to side all the way, breaking the ice. They were called that, they were the icebreakers, and that was, that was something that was quite, it was quite a difficult job really, for the horse. Sometimes the’ d to use two horses if, if the ice was fairly thick. But even then there would be a time when it came too think an’ they couldn’t move at all, because it would sometimes freeze over soon after they’d broken it, so, er, it, they couldn’t get going. An’I remember I ‘ave skated on the canal and I’ve also ridden my bicycle on the canal on the ice on the canal. It’s been so thick.”
Clock Key and Screw
Object Number: D94
This is an antique clock repair kit. The wood was made from mahogany handles with a diamond cross pattern. Brass metal fittings, which consist of an octagonal shape, are on the side, which pull away to reveal a key and screwdriver. The word ‘COTTA’ is imprinted on one side. The length of the screwdriver is 120mm.
Object Number: D195
This is an antique coin scale calliper device, which measured Sovereign and Half-Sovereign coins. The folded wooden case opens up to form a brass balance upon which the coins are placed. It is dated from around the early 19th Century. The interior of the case consists of faded written instructions. The length of the case is 135mm, whilst the depth is 15mm. The specifications on which Half-Sovereigns and Sovereigns were measured on were: – 7.98kg in weight, 1.52mm in thickness and 22.05mm in diameter. These measurements were legally defined in the 1816 Coin Act.
Object Number: D1743a
These are a pair of wooden billet sticks. A billet is a Victorian pastime where the sticks are hit by a golf type instrument. The aim of the game is to strike the sticks as further the distance as possible. Flags were displayed on the field denoting 20-yard intervals. A point would be awarded for each flag passed – so a 70-yard effort would earn 3 points. A match might be over 10 strikes. The sticks were produced from green boxwood and originate from around the 1840’s. The instrument is missing from the collection. These items were gifted to the museum in 1962.
Oral History: Margaret Robinson
OH4 Outbreak of WWII
“I: Can you remember the actual outbreak of war? A: Yes. Of course there was no television in those days. We had got a radio, so we heard all the momentous radio announcements. All given very solemnly and that war was declared and I became quite conscious of this, of the war because, particularly in my church groups, I was with people who were 3 or 4 years older than I was, so by the time it got to 1940, and I was 15, some of my friends were being called up, and by the time I was 16 some of my friends had been killed. And you grow up mighty quickly when that happens. So I think that I really lost, to some extent, my teenage years.”
Oral History: Glenn Costin
“It’s just amazing, em, from eh a basic level it’s one of the finest adventure sports that a young person or an older person can do. Em, it, I, I wouldn’t like to say preys on a lot of people’s insecurities but it kind of does. So, it kind of like erm, it’s dark, it’s wet, it’s enclosed and it’s underground. Er which are all contributing fear factors. Er which doesn’t make it particularly appealing. Erm but the minute you step foot underground you’re in a completely different world to er your everyday life. Erm you’re in an exciting environment. You’re in a risky environment, erm where the risk is managed er to make it enjoyable.”
County Card Game
Object Number: D1396.4
This collection of cards was found in a drawer of toys and belonged to Elizabeth Sidgwick and designed by John Jacques. Various editions existed and were regularly updated to keep pace with industrial developments. Each card had a photograph associated with the county in question along with facts. The rules of the game was similar to ‘Happy Families’ by completing the highest number of sets. This set was probably published during the late 1890’s. The measurements of these were 7×3.5×9.5 (stacked).
National Ration Book – World War One
Object Number: 315c2
From July 1918 national ration books for butter, lard, margarine and sugar were issued by the Ministry of Food. This was in response to combatting declining food supplies across the UK. This particular ration book belonged to Barbara Potts. The measurements (when shut) consisted of 12.5x 0.5 x 11. Not even royalty was exempt with King George and Queen Mary having to ration their diets!
HMS Vesper Plaque
Object Number:- 672/2016.33
In February 1942, Skipton collectively raised £482,887 to ‘adopt’ a WW2 ship named HMS Vesper as part of a ‘Warships Week’ fundraising campaign. Plaques were made to commemorate Vesper’s links with Skipton and in 2007 were placed in a Canal basin in Skipton. This particular plaque measured 46 x 6 x 42. The HMS Vesper association was formed in 1985 and regularly met in Skipton from 1986 until its last meeting in 2013.