These Are Not Lipstick Tubes...



The objects above are remarkably ornate baby rattles/ teething toys, as crafted by a master silversmith.  They are attributed to Nicholas Roosevelt, an 18th-century American craftsman, and are now part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This rare and precious gold toy, with its elaborate chased and repoussé ornament, might have been given as a lavish christening gift. It consists of a whistle, a piece of teething coral, six of the original eight bells, and a loop to hang a toy on a ribbon around the child's neck. Aside from being a teething device, the coral in the whistle and bells was thought to ward off enchantment and disease.

One can't help but wonder if creations such as this had some influence on the development of the idiom "bells and whistles" to describe supplementary showy functions.

Link, via Titam et le Sirop d'Érable.

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Jmo was the first of several to identify the correct category for the objects. bees and iSAWiWASi found related links, and Dr. Rock has just tracked down the source of the photo.

I'll go ahead and revise the post tonight.
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