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Japanned or toleware box




5-1/2 in x 8-3/8 in x 5-3/8 in


Enameled tin-plated iron, brass

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.

Accession Number



“Debora Hunt Jefferis 1770 / Mother of Ann Jefferis Wilson 1808 / Mary Corbit Wilson born 1811 / Mother of Mary Corbit Warner born 1848” is written onto the underside of the inner compartment lid.  The handwriting appears to be that of Mary Corbit Warner.

Condition Notes

The paint is flaking in many places and that on the outside has oxidized and darkened.  The outside top of the box has lost almost all decoration.


Ex coll. Mrs. E. Tatnall (Mary Corbit) Warner.


This little box, of tin-plated iron soldered together and having folded edges for strength, is painted yellow and has floral sprays on the outsides.  The yellow paint inside the box preserves the brilliance of the original color.  It covers the nuts holding the furniture brass that serves as a lid handle.  A separate lidded compartment is constructed inside the box.  The function of the box is not known.  Sewing scraps were inside the box for many years.

Of terminology, “toleware” comes from a French word for sheet metal; Japanning references the painting (on metal in this instance) in imitation of Asian lacquer work.  Japanning was used to describe white enamel clock dials.