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History of Nordic Tine Boxes

Submitted by Ross F.

The collection of tine boxes comes from Ross Fogelquist’s large collection of Nordic antiques. These are mostly from Sweden and Norway, from the 1800s. These were the principal containers used for storage and transportation of all kinds of items.

All over northern Scandinavia the molded container has been used as a provisions box, or lunch pail, a characteristic part of the luggage of the peasant traders of Norrland. In Hälsingland, particularly, large oval boxes, so-called church boxes—used to transport church-going finery to the village church—were quite common in the first half of the nineteenth century. Containers from Sweden and Norway are distinguished by their great variety of shapes and décor. The large molded carriers for the serving of tunnbrod (unleavened barley bread, lefse) are made without handles.

The construction for these boxes was a common technique for all kinds of boxes in Scandinavia. They were mostly constructed from wood from birch trees, which were soaked and bent into an oval shape. They were then fastened together with birch bark roots. The bottom boards were attached to the frame with wooden pegs. Most of the time, they had wooden or iron handles. These boxes were often decorated with folk art designs or burnt designs. Many were just left plain. Many were dated and with the initials of the owner inscribed on them.


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