Object Record

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Catalog Number 1956.003.0011
Accession number 1956.003.
Object Name Candlestick, Miner's
Description Metal miner's candle holder made out of iron.

Tag found with object: "Miner's Candle Holder. Could be stuck in wall or hung on peg or hook."

From www.ss.ca.gov: Miner's candleholder was also known as a "Sticking Tommy." Modern underground workers have lamps fastened to their helmets. But in the 1860s, miners had to light their tunnels with candles. They often used candleholders like this one to anchor their candles in the walls. The miners could easily drive the pointed end of the candlestick into the timbers that supported the tunnel roofs. Alternatively, the candlestick could hang from the hook. The socket in the middle held the candle. The use of candles, along with all the wood timbering and the few exits, made fire a serious danger in the mines.

From www.memorabiliamine.com: Miners Candlesticks
Most of the western miners favored the candlestick but it was also used in many other locales such as the iron mines in Michigan. The early English miner fashioned lumps of clay to hold a tallow candle to a rock, a ledge, a cap or whatever they could fashion. These early candles smoked and ran and were not well suited to the riggers of mining. Improvements were made and stearic wax candles were born. These were well accepted by the miners. They were of a harder wax and would put out very little smoke, they would withstand high temperatures, and they did not smolder when blown out. In and around the 1860's western miners fashioned a spike with the end bent to hold a candle. The Comstock area miners are credited for the invention of the candlestick. By 1867 these designs were improved and well accepted in the Comstock Mines of Nevada and the Gold Mines of California. The first candlestick was patented in 1872 and a few years later the hook was added to the early designs. By the 1870's local blacksmiths as well as manufacturers were turning out candlesticks by the hundreds. The candlestick was among the miner's most prized possessions and there were hundreds of styles, shapes and sizes to suit his individual tastes.
Collection Adam East Collection
Date 1860 ca-1870 ca
Dimensions L-33.5 cm
Source East, Adam
Collector Adam East
Material Metal
People East, Adam H.