A weavers’ bowl – was filled with water and spread the light farther in poorer homes so people could work in the evening…
This is an unusual little fact that I learned while visiting a very old English Farmhouse.
Townend Farmhouse, in the Lake District, England, is owned and kept by the National Trust. It is a lovely and rare preservation of a moment in a middle-class way of life.
Because the family were not rich, but well off, there are remnants of a very different style of life than you normally see preserved. Below is a picture of a candle holder. There are places for beeswax candles but these would have been rarely used, due to the expense. So there are also holders for tallow candles that were made by dipping reeds into melted animal fat. These reeds could be “burned at both ends” so that people could work into the night. Here, though, there is another artefact that rarely survives the test of time – A weavers bowl. The glass bowl in front of the candles would have been filled with water. This would have acted in the same way that mirrors did in richer households, reflecting the light and spreading it further around the room.
Of course, I have now managed to find a scene in Treacle Moon for this lovely little fact!