Vegetable Ivory Tape Measure

Out of stock

This pretty little beehive shaped tape measure is from about 1890 and includes a silk ribbon tape measure marked in Imperial measurements (inches), sadly now starting with the number 5.

Carved from vegetable ivory, or tagua palm nut, it has matured into this lovely honey colour.

Supplied in a hand-crafted vintage linen pocket, the tape measure measures 2.25 x 1.5in (5 x 3.5cm).


Out of stock

Out of stock


The story of this little treasure

In the past needlework tools were made from ivory, tortoiseshell, bone, vegetable ivory, wood and even straw. The idea of selling any part of elephants or tortoise is now completely unacceptable in the same way that hunting beasts as a trophy is from a time gone by. Vegetable ivory is naturally white with a fine marbled grain structure and has been used to make needlework tools, dice, knife handles and much more. The palm tree takes about 15 years to mature but can live for 100 years and produce 20 pounds of this hard white material which is carved with hacksaws and chisels.