French Oval Wood Slat Barrel

saintroadJuly 22, 2012

Hello Gardenweb world,

Can anyone provide some insight as to the general use and approximate age of the antique French barrel attached? I am assuming it was used for garden/crops or field work? Ideas?

17 1/2â³ tall x 35â³ long (including handles)

Purchased from antique store that obtained a container from Versailles. Also has a imprint/stencil in the back stating

"M SILVESTRE DE SACY"

Thanks so much for any and all information!

Andy

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lindac

Uh.....not attached....

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:21PM
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calliope

Antoine Silvestre (de Sacy) was a rather illustrious gentleman who died in the early part of the 19th century. I don't know why his name would be stenciled on that barrel, unless there was an implication (genuine or otherwise) it was of his belongings. He was an academic and linguist or more appropiately a translator of ancient language, and certainly not a gardener. If that were indeed the case it did belong to him, that barrel would be rather old. Stranger things have happened. Try to get a picture on, please.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:25PM
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saintroad

Here is the pic: (Was told it was from 1880s)
The nails around the top metal band are old. I can send detailed photos. They are hand made & irregular.

I can send another pic of the deep wood branding/carving (not painted stencil of the M. SILVESTRE) if needed.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:48PM
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lindac

The Baron....the linguist was Antoine and he had a son also using the name Silvestre de Sacy....
I would not be surprised if, owing to the renown of Antoine that perhaps a subsequent generation also used that surname.
The barrel certainly looks well used.
What are those handles on the sides?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:44AM
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saintroad

Sorry, I just realized that I uploaded the wrong pic. That was one I found online when trying to find a 'reference piece' Sorry! Here are the correct photos I took this morning in the bed of my antique truck:


Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:21AM
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saintroad

Assuming it was used as a field basket that could be carried by one or two people as they walked 'inline' since the handles are straight out? Any ideas?

Any mention of a G. SILVESTRE (perhaps a son?) because the other side is painted freehand in a large G. S. in faded/rusted over white paint.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:24AM
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nyboy

Can you please post photos of your truck?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:02AM
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lindac

Hmm...?
Could it have been used in some sort of dirt or ore ...or something of that nature> I can see many of those buckets on some sort of a line....filled one place and transporting the whatever to another place.
The inside is so light I can see something clay like or limestone being transported in it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:55AM
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calliope

OK I see the M. Silvestre, but I do not see the 'de Sacy'
on your container. Is it on there? If it isn't, there would not necessarily be any connection to this line and simply anybody's surname. One of my great-grandfathers was a cooper, and French at that. It certainly does not make me an expert by proximity but I have spent some time learning a little about coopering just to put his life into context since it was a family occupation passed on through the generations. One can often define the general purpose of a barrel simply by the wood from which it was made. It would almost be a matter of semantics whether one would call this a barrel or a bucket, but I'd be more inclined to say it was an old bucket. The fact this one has handles does indeed suggest it was designed for frequent use and not just storage or shipping. Your pictures, are the sides flared, or straight? Can tell if the camera angles have caused distortion, the last four pictures are the same item?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:46AM
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saintroad

Calliopem
De Sacy is on the other side with the large painted G.S.
Yes, it might be an old bucket, but not to store water obviously. The sides are flared out, yes with slight deflection as seen normally in the photos. I am not using a wide-angle or fisheye lens, so the photos are not distorted in anyway. The wood is obviously tapered as you can plainly detect in the picture of the interior of this 'bucket or barrel' --- kinda large to be a 'bucket', but what it stored or handled and for what reason would be nice to know. Obviously, it was used a lot which is evident from the wear and aging.

Yes, same item...all 4 photos. Can you not tell that from the background and truck bed?

Thanks for your insight.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:17PM
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jemdandy

Those 'handles' may be pivots. The bucket could have been used to move grain with a mill. The bucket would have been suspended in a fixture or bail and then tipped by hand to pour the contents into a hopper. It coujld have been use to transport grapes in a winery, but would expect to see stains.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:32PM
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calliope

I was trying to determine why in one shot the sides looked very much cylindrical, that's all. I'll tell you what this container looks suspiciously like and that's one used for grape harvesting before plastic came along. It had to be shallow enough the weight of the picked grapes didn't crush the those at the bottom, it had to be modestly flared, so that the basket was easy to hit when standing upright, and it had to be wide enough to hold a goodly amount. The fact you have seen other containers with the same imprint suggests it may have been part of one large family operation and of course France is a wine producing country. It might bear checking out to see if the Silvestre de Sacy family weren't also vintners as many families who owned land were. Look at a more modern version of a vintner's gathering basket. The dimensions and size are very similar. Of course the containers needed to be sturdy to be hauled around in wagons behind horses again and again. And, handles like this would be easily tipped to pour out grapes, perhaps even dropped into a cradle so that the metal rods would serve as pivot points.

Here is a link that might be useful: grape harvesting

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:06PM
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calliope

Looks like I was keying out my response about the same time as the previous poster submitted theirs because we both had the same idea. Those would make God-awful handles putting a lot of weight on a small rod but would make excellent pivots. And there is a particular reason the handles are pointed slightly downward on both examples. It's not an accident.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:11PM
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lindac

Looks too deep for grapes...in that time period the pickers carried the container with them...in fact in this time period they do!!
And of course as has been mentioned it would be stained. There appears to be some residue in the bottom? What is it?

I think it's obvious that those "Ears" either held a handle of the sort used on an ore bucket...or could be fitted into some device to move to the location.
Grain or flour is a possibility...I also thought of clay at a pottery. There is a reason why it's oval....possibly so it could be tipped and the contents spilled out easily?
And I think what ever it is....there were namy more just like it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Fori is not pleased

...and the truck...?

:)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:21PM
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calliope

Seventeen inches is not too deep for grapes, where on earth did you get that from? Grape hods come much deeper than that. There are many wines with de Sacy after a name, and Silvestre de Sacy the Baron may have nothing to do with the wine. In fact I found a taste review for a Kosher wine with a Sylvestre de Sacy label. Sacy is wine country. And yes, they did make grape hods out of oak, with copper bands. See link below. The metal rods, turned downward would be the security for the strap. This particular hod has a flattened back, but I can show you several more with completely rounded tops.

Here is a link that might be useful: antique wooden grape hod

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:36PM
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lindac

Quoting your post above.
" It had to be shallow enough the weight of the picked grapes didn't crush the those at the bottom, it had to be modestly flared, so that the basket was easy to hit when standing upright, and it had to be wide enough to hold a goodly amount."
The grape hods pictures are stained with the juice of the grape showing what their use was.....this is not stained like that.

I am not getting an image of how this bucket/barrel could be carried by a picker with a strap.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:40PM
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calliope

Look familiar including the handle?

Here is a link that might be useful: Wine and Vine

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:33PM
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calliope

I lived just above Bordeaux in wine country, even though I have not seen a bucket (and yes I was right calling it that) just like this. I have seen many old hods/buckets/and barrels, however and as I said, I even found reference to silvestre de sacy champagne. It almost was obliged to be connected to wine making. Yes, I said the hods can't be too deep, but the OP's is only seventeen inches and I grow grapes myself and use a bushel, oblong wicker basket. My white grapes do not leave purple stains, btw and god knows what a hundred year old container has been repurposed for over the years. The stenciling on the back of the OP's container really re-enforced my hunch. It is a grape harvest bucket.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:42PM
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