Behold the Shaker box, an early-19th century design classic that we wouldn’t blame you for thinking was contemporary. Here’s how to get your hands on one…
For the uninitiated, Shakers are a strict religious sect who broke away from their better-known brethren, the Quakers, in the 1700s. Their signature storage boxes, also known as “pantry boxes”, are deliberately devoid of decoration, in line with the Shaker community’s belief in the “beauty in utility”. The airtight containers were used to store teas, spices and grains, with the larger boxes housing hats and other household accessories.
Shaker maker Above: Brother Ricardo Belden in a workshop in Massachusetts, circa 1935. Source: Library of the Congress Prints and Photographs Division
These elegant and simple designs are hand-bent out of cherrywood around timber shaping moulds and held together with a then innovative series of swallow-tail joints secured with copper nails. The oval design allows for less warping, while the breathable, lightweight material and the tight-fitting lids are ideal for storing food.
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