Georgian Sterling Silver Candle Wick Trimmer or Snuffer 1791. Hallmarked in London for Walter Brind or William Birch in 1791. Reeded wire shank and ring handles; reeded borders to the'snouff box. Fully functional and tested; has a sprung action, and a steel blade. The finest examples that we have offered for sale.Prior to the mid 19th century the tallow (animal fat) or wax of a candle burned faster than the wick. To promote a steady flame, the wick needed to be trimmed. These are intended trim the wick of a candle.
The burned bits of greasy wick are caught in the box. These burned sections of the wick were known as snouff, or snoff - hence the name of the tool; as candles were often inadvertently extinguished during the trimming of the snouff, the word became synonymous with the candle going out, and this evolved in to'snuffing' which remains in common use today.I have been involved in the antiques business since 1971. My career took a leap forward when I joined Bonhams in 1976. Some five years later I became head of the Decorative Arts department.