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Laxey miner's mineral cabinet or spar box

Date made: mid 19th century

Maker: Clague

Place made: Laxey

Description: This cabinet or spar box was made by a Laxey miner named Clague, in 1861. The design shows the three legs of Man, a crown and the letters 'VR'.

It was made from waste products from the mining industry, notably the quartz and other brightly coloured minerals brought up with the metal ore.

Boxes such as this represent the confluence of two important 19th century Manx industries. On the one hand they were made by miners toiling to bring up zinc ore which made the Laxey mine among the most productive in the British Isles, yet they were frequently sold to tourists who were visiting the Isle of Man in increasing numbers from the 1880s onwards. Many came to look at the mines as part of a tour of the Island, and were eager for a memento.

Measurements: overall: 61 cm x 50.3 cm x 10.7 cm

Materials: glass, mineral, wood

Object name: mineral cabinet

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1954-3658


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