This brass box measures 6 1/2" square by 2 1/4" tall . Made of thick pieces of brass with welded construction and piano hinges attaching the lid to the base and the interior compartments. The components are assembled with brass slotted-head screws. Perhaps made for traveling but quite heavy at just over 5 pounds.
A button on the front surface releases the lid revealing inside compartments for ink, stamps, paper, etc. A small round receptacle pops up when lid is raised and this holds the candle which was probably used for light rather than sealing envelopes. The lid for the inkwell latches with a small piece of metal. 1.3" square cutout for the (missing) inkwell.
Inscribed; "21/3. 1891" on inside of lid.
It is not our usual practice to polish these old metal items but this piece had several rings on the top surface and we wanted to see the extent of the oxidation. They easily rubbed out and there is just a slight trace that may be removed with further polishing. It had been cleaned in the past and probably many times as there is residue on the underside and in the deep machining of the flanges and some verdigris here and there. We did not clean the interior or outside bottom cavity.
No manufacturer's marks and the possible maker is rather a mystery. Although well-made, it is perhaps slightly crude and so heavy that it doesn't seem to be a mass-manufactured thing but the tools required to made it would not have been something found in a home work shop in the 1890's. Perhaps a prototype or salesman's sample.