This is an American voting or ballot box said to have originated from either the Masons or the Easter Star group in Clarence, Missouri. Groups such as Masonic Lodges, fraternities and sororities used a special form of voting for suitable or acceptable new members. This involved the process of 'black- balling'. A secret ballot was undertaken with each participant using a white or black ball to register acceptance or rejection. This is a charming example, crafted from oak and containing twenty two hand-made glazed clay marbles (said to be Bennington marbles as they have small pits or “eyes” from the time of their manufacture) and six little wooden black cubes. The box is composed of a drawer and a larger compartment through which a hand can be inserted to place the desired ball through the small aperture so the ball ends up in the drawer and the discarded ball can be dropped onto the base of the box. It has a carved carrying handle.
Length 11.5 ins (29.5cm), width 6.5 ins (17cm), height 7 ins (17.5cm). Weight 1578 grams.
In very good condition.
This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 195.