This early mangle board, or smoothing board, is a wonderful piece of folk art that is beautifully carved and decorated including a desirable horse handle. It is made with a very substantial board measuring 27 ½ inches long and 5 ½ inches wide. The board is a robust 1 ½ inches thick. The horse handle is 7 ½ inches long, is 4 ¼ inches tall, and is 1 1/8 inches thick. The horse handle is mortised into the board. The horse is stylized in form and has a very graceful look. The bottom of the tail was broken off at one time and is lost. The face of the board is decorated with vein-carved designs that are similar to the compass designs often found on early Pennsylvania Dutch boxes and trunks. There is some bone inlay work along with a piece of walnut inlay that is all used as accents to augment the carved design. Directly in front of the horse there is a walnut inlay that appears to represent the Christian cross. This type of inlay work is very unusual on a mangle board. Given the design elements and construction, we feel that this box was probably made in the U.S. by a Norwegian immigrant. Whoever made it, the piece is signed with initials and the date ”1878” carved into a piece of inlay. Because of the stylized nature of the initials, we are unsure what they are. The board and horse are made from very heavy birch. The wood has a varnish finish that has developed a wonderful golden-brown patina over the years. The piece has an exceptional look and displays beautifully. It shows its age well with the usual dings, scratches and flaws that would be expected on a piece of wood that is about 140 years old. There are some insect holes that are no longer active. A leather remnant of an original hanging strap remains on one end and there is a modern steel hook for hanging on the other end. In all regards, this is both an unusual and outstanding mangle board that will add interest to any collection and create many comments when on display.
While originally intended to be used for smoothing sheets and linens, by tradition mangle boards ("mangletre" in Norwegian), or smoothing boards, became devices that were hand-carved by men to be given to their brides at the time when they became engaged. The fancier ones such as this board were never intended to be used, but were strictly done for show. It was a sign of honor to have a beautifully carved and/or painted mangle board hanging on your wall.
This is definitely a one-of-a-kind item that will look absolutely wonderful in your home. You can shop with confidence at Sweetpea Cottage. YOUR SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED. If you wish to return your purchase for any reason we gladly refund your purchase price minus shipping. Within three days of receiving your item, simply notify us by email that you wish to return it. Once we receive it in original condition in a timely fashion, then we will refund the full purchase price. The buyer will be responsible for return shipping. This is a very large and heavy piece. We will not be able to ship this item to our international customers.
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