Infant cradle incorporating sea turtle shell

Infant cradle

wood; sea turtle carapace; metal; textile; horsehair
overall: 42 x 39 3/4 x 27 in.;

Cradle; Tortoise shell cradle, 1866; from the collection of Captain Richard C. Mears (1829-1899); baby cradle with a mahogany wood frame, and the cradle bed is made from a sea turtle's shell; four wheels attached to the bottom of the cradle's legs, and the cradle is suspended between two end posts by metal hooks on each side that allow it to swing back and forth; end posts are flat and almost bottle-shaped, with ringed finials or spindles at the top, and a small metal bracket attached close to the bottom with an unknown usage; support bar with a serpentine motif runs under the cradle bed (shell) and attaches to each end post; one side of the cradle (footboard?) has a thick, large wooden casing that houses the clockwork mechanism responsible for automatically rocking the cradle, with one metal post sticking out slightly from the center of the outside (used in conjunction with the key that came with the cradle to wind mechanism like a clock), and another metal post situated between the brass supports from which the cradle hangs (most likely this is broken, and once had a part that pushed against either side of the brass supports, causing the cradle to rock when clock mechanism was wound); surrounding the shell is a wooden edge and railing structure, supported by 30 turned spindles around the edge; the cradle's bed is stuffed with what is most likely horse hair, as well as cotton batting, and covered in a red tufted cloth cover. For bills of sale, see Manuscript Coll. 311.


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Carapace (shell) of a green sea turtle associated with Dr. Raymond Dillon's voyage onboard YANKEE
carapace (shell) of a green sea turtle

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