Oval Wooden Shakers

Before the invention of plastic occurred in the 20th century, families used a variety of methods to try and keep their leftovers fresh. Shaker boxes were made out of wood and generally stored dry items. They were also sold in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. The most popular selling was the oval nested shakers. This design allowed for easier use and storage.

Shaker boxes were inspired by the religious group known as the “Shakers.” This group is most similar to the Quakers who fled England due to religious persecution. They were known as Shakers because of their enthusiastic church services.1 Shakers valued perfection and precision in every aspect of their lives, these values extended to their furniture and other hand made items.

Shaker furniture was characterized by their  values in simplicity and exactness, “the value placed on simplicity is especially apparent in Shaker crafts, distinguished by their ordered, clean lines. The characteristic smoothness of the surfaces in furniture also suggest their religious emphasis on perfection.”2 Shakers did not invent the wooden shaker but they did popularize it and as well as perfect it in the 19th century.


Wooden Oval Boxes
Figure 1: Wooden Oval Boxes: Data From: University of California, San Diego.



1. [New York Observer and Chronicle, “The Shakers.” July 5, 1866.]]
2. [Simon J. Bronner,  Encyclopedia of American Folklife, Routledge, 2006. 1115-1116.]]

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