Olde Tyme Arts and Crafts

Historical Craft Kits~Art~Handmade Crafts~Books

 

Information obtained from:
Elizabeth H. Joyner ,Museum Curator
Vicksburg National Military Park


Vicksburg National Military Park has several of the wooden toothbrushes that were discovered aboard the Civil War ironclad, U.S.S. Cairo. To my knowledge none of the toothbrushes have retained their bristles.  The manufacturer of the toothbrushes is also unknown. Unfortunately, I know very little about the toothbrushes.  Metal sewing needles and thread were also found aboard Cairo.  
 
I am including a description of a couple of the toothbrushes as-well-as a description of a metal sewing needle also recovered from Cairo and in the museum collection for your information.
 
 
TOOTHBRUSH VICKC 351
 
WOODEN. HANDLE EDGES AND TOP ROUNDED. HEAD HAS ANGULAR EDGES. HANDLE NARROWS TOWARD END. BACK IS CURVED UPWARD (WARPED?) UNEVEN BROWN PAINT, SOME WORN OFF. HAS SHINY FINISH. NARROW NECK. HEAD HAS 4 ROWS OF TINY HOLES (22 HOLES PER ROW) TO HOLD BRISTLES. NO BRISTLES EXTANT. HEAD NARROWS AT ROUNDED TOP.
 
TOOTHBRUSH VICKC 1027
 
WOODEN TOOTHBRUSH.  HANDLE EDGES AND TOP ARE ROUNDED.  THE HANDLE IS ARCHED SOMEWHAT AND FLATTENS TOWARD THE END.  THE NECK IS NARROW.  THE HEAD NARROWS TOWARD THE TOP, WHICH IS ROUNDED.  HEAD HAS 4 ROWS OF TINY HOLES TO HOLD BRISTLES.  NO BRISTLES EXTANT.  MEDIUM DULL BROWN COLOR, FAINT SHINE.  HANDLE HAS SEVERAL SPLITS ON EACH SIDE.  BROKEN IN TWO AT THE NECK.  THE BACK OF THE HEAD IS SPLIT, PIECES BROKEN OFF.
  

Sewing Notions
Cairo Sailors were responsible for mending their own uniforms. They carried sewing kits called “housewives.”  These kits usually contained small scissors, pins, needles, linen thread, spare buttons and thimbles.


You may also wish to visit the museums virtual exhibit at:  www.nps.gov and click on the blue "Cairo" icon.