Antique warming slab composed of greenish gray steatite (aka soapstone) and dating from the mid to late 1800s. The slab still retains its original bail-style iron handle. Soapstone slabs were used in the 1700s and 1800s to provide warmth during cold nights and the long winters up north. These slabs were set in fireplaces or along the hearth close by where they could absorb radiate heat. And after they had absorbed enough heat, the slabs were moved to another location and used to warm a bed, a carriage bench or simply placed as a foot warmer. Soapstone is a mineral formed by metamorphism and has a slippery feel much like a piece of soap, hence the name (Steatite is one of its more formal names as assigned by geologists particularly when it occurs in a pure and massive form). Finely ground steatite produces talc which can also be used a lubricant as well as to produce cosmetics and paint. Soapstone is also one of the softest rocks found naturally and can be easily scratched with ones finger nail.
Soapstone was used in the 1800s and early 1900s to produce special sinks, set tubs and even counters and laboratory table tops since it is nonreactive to most chemicals, acids or bases. It is a dense rock that is also impermeable to liquids. Native Americans carved bowls out of massive soapstone thousands of years ago and before clay pottery was discovered. Soapstone tobacco pipes were also carved out of soapstone and these pipes were highly valued and traded among different tribes.
The slab of soapstone offered here weighs about 9.75 lbs and measures 9 3/4 inches by 8 inches and has a thickness of about 1 inch (see all photos). The handles is original and made of rigid iron. It is purposely bent to allow one to easily pick the slab up by the handle with any fear of dropping it. The condition of this warming slab is good with just one chipped corner and a couple of other smaller edge chips. The last photo shows the two largest chips with a pencil pointing to each (one of the chips is right where the iron handle heads into one side of the slab). And as always, this antique warming stone also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy for a refund (see full Return Policy details farther below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $19.60 for well packed and insured USPS Ground (this is an estimated savings of about $2 to $5 since insurance and tracking are also INCLUDED in the above quoted amount for all mainland US addresses). No handling or packing fees are ever charged and all international buyers will pay only the exact shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the continental US mainland. We only use the USPS for International shipping to reduce broker fees and some Custom’s charges when an item is over 100 years old. Also, we always encourage the International buyer to select an International shipping option that also provides insurance against loss or damage, and ask the International customer to send us their address for an email quote covering all insured International shipping options to your location. To date, we have shipped fragile items to 28 countries around the globe and have not had any items lost or broken, however this fact does not guarantee that no postal mishandling will ever occur in the future. Also, please note that International import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes should your country allow such petitions for items over 100 years old. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with the purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of original receipt for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary (we have had only one claim for damage in over seven years). Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: We accept checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order (see Terms of Sale for additional information). Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal. Thanks for looking and do come back and visit again whenever you have the time.