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Vintage Natural Bones, 6 inch
Vintage Natural Bones, 6 inch
Victorian era kid-size bones.


 
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Product Code: 100A1-17
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Description Technical Specs
 
Vintage Kid-Size Musical Bones, 6"

I got this wonderful set of kid-sized vintage musical bones from an antique dealer in Luton, United Kingdom. The UK antique dealer acquired them at a local auction:

Came to me as part of a local auction lot. Look to be in good vintage, used condition and fabulous, if you can play them!

Tone
The sharp tone they produce is characteristic of instruments made of solid natural bone.

Short Design Style
The bones measure just 6" in length. This is a tad shorter than minstrel style bones which usually measure around 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 inches long. I understand that short musical bones were prevalent among Irish and seafaring players, but I can offer you no verifiable references to substantiate the claim.

Somewhat Curvy
A 28 degree arc is the standard for musical bones. These bones are more curvy than most musical bones I have seen. Not sure if curvy bones are easier for younger folks to play or not. But I can tell you that most kids (as well as adults) have no problem playing flat, plank-shaped bones. Still, I wonder if these objects are not musical bones at all, but some kind of utilitarian Victorian era artifact.

Great for Kids and Adults
I prefer minstrel-length bones but also enjoy playing these short ones, so they are fine for adults too. 

Wouldn't it be charming if these bones belonged to a Victorian era child who played them in the garden and on the boardwalk? The kid probably got them from his great uncle, a crusty old salt who carved them at sea and kept the bones stashed in a small pocket, rattling them during his long hours while on watch.

See Detailed Pictures
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Are These Whalebone?
The bones look and feel like ivory, but close inspection reveals a grain like whalebone objects I have seen in museums. Musical bones made of ox shin are somewhat similar. But ox shin musical bones are usually larger. Also, ox shin grain is unlike this grain. Moreover, the antique appearance of these vintage bones makes the possibility they are ox shin seem remote.

But whatever they are, these bones are fun to play and produce a nice crisp snappy sound. How old are they? The whaling industry was going strong in 1807, so I am guessing this set is from one-hundred to two-hundred years old.


Can you solve the mystery of these bones?
If you know the provenance of these objects or if you know how to positively determine whether or not these objects are genuine whalebone, then post your opinion via the review system. Give the 'review' one star and please title it Guest Reply.
Features
  • Short Length: Good for kids and adults.
  • Authentic Vintage Items: Great for living history events.

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