Creative Collections: Dowsers

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collection of antique dowsers

This creative collection post is one for the real antique lovers!

detail of a collection of antique dowsers

These conical shaped candle extinguishers are often misnamed snuffers, but they’re more accurately called candle dowsers. Snuffers have a scissor action and are designed to remove burnt wick (or snuff).

underside of an antique dowser

We got the majority of them in one bulk purchase. It was a rather impulsive buy, but we fell in love with them when viewing an auction at Wilkinson’s, a really wonderful saleroom in Doncaster. It’s usually the country furniture and period oak that we make the trip to see, so twenty antique candle dowsers wasn’t really on our list!

ribbed antique dowser

But they made such a lovely display with the variation in style, size & material. There are some exquisite pieces here, dating back hundreds of years – brass, pewter, bronze and silver examples. We love the craftsmanship – and the real connection with history.

Mr Punch antique dowser

Having bought something unusual like this we enjoy the research into styles and dating, but we haven’t found any books or websites dedicated to the subject as yet. We’ll keep looking for reference material – and in the meantime just enjoy looking at them each time we pass!

  • Dave F Barker

    I used to see lots of these when I worked i antique shop in 1970s wish Id have collected them as they were cheap and plentyful