The Uses Of A Decorative Storage Box Throughout History

Mickey | General | Monday, January 17th, 2011

Although most boxes primarily serve functional purposes, they can sometimes also be imbued with aesthetic or decorative embellishments. A decorative storage box is usually used as a marketing tool, and in this regard is usually known as promotional packaging. Throughout history, embellished and decorated boxes were already used for specific purposes. The following are several examples.

Work boxes were already very much in vogue during the 17th century. A box of this type was usually in the possession of a lady, and it was fitted with compartments that hold needles, threads (silk and cotton varieties), scraps of cloth, and other items essential for needlecraft. By the time the second half of the 18th century rolled in, the work box is one item that noblewomen is expected to have in her possession, and the box’s design has evolved from being a simple wooden receptacle to an elegant item embellished with beads, gems, and precious metalwork.

A type of decorative storage container came in the form of the snuff box. This decorative albeit utilitarian receptacle was an essential accessory for the gentleman of the 18th or 19th century. Snuff boxes during these periods were encrusted with precious stones and/or mother of pearl; some were made from high-quality leather, while others were made from gold and were encrusted with diamonds. Of course, there were also boxes made out of simpler materials, such as wood and potato pulp (a wood-like substitute material).

A knife case was popular during the 18th century. When a host or hostess hands cutlery to the guests, these were usually placed in carefully crafted wooden cases. The knife case – as it became known – was often made from high-quality wood and inlaid with intricate marquetry.

Meanwhile, a pretty wooden storage box usually served as a receptacle for wine during transit. Most wineries had their logos stamped on the front paneling, allowing for the proper identification of their products when these were transported to other countries.

Next time you hold a box in your hands, you can appreciate the rich history of this highly functional receptacle.

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