Following our article about the history of straw splitters, we thought it interesting to include additional splitters found throughout the world. Their similarities are fascinating.
This home-made straw splitter, has a card tag write in 1896 attached to it with. “A Straw splitter, made by the late Hugh Aukland out of a penny, over 60 years ago.”
This tag would have been written when the straw splitter was put on display at the Historic Heirloom Show at the Opera House in Carleton Place.
The splitters below are made of wood and bone. They were graciously shared by Anne-Marie Choain and are from her personal collection.
This photo is also shared by Anne-Marie Choain. These splitters were made anonymously, with some working better than others.
A different splitter for a different purpose was located on Ebay. Described by the seller as follows:
“The splitter combs, 1/2″ & 5/8″ , were found in a pillbox dated 1834.
The 2″ x 1″ x 3/4” tall box contained a note about the owner of the straw splitter combs.
The note inside reads :
“Tiny box owned by Julia Maria Daniels Thurston. In Franklin, she made straw hats, and continued to do so in Union. These tiny combs split the straw.”
The question is, what straw was she splitting? Palm perhaps.
New Mexico’s straw master, Jimmy Trujillo gifted The Straw Shop Collection, in 2017, a straw splitter he made of bone. Although he doesn’t identify the bone used, he does describe the splitter as follows: ” I’ve been using this splitter for several years when I do demos. It’s not a fancy one but it works great for me.” We are pleased to show the following images of his splitter. His splitter measures 4 inches long ( 10cm) and 1/2 inch (1 cm) at its widest point. It is a pleasure to use.
He did the carving. The hook on the end is interesting. As an applique straw artist his tool splits the straw open and smoothes it beautifully.
The reverse side is smooth and displays his etched initials. A handcrafted tool we are honored to have in The Straw Shop Collection.
The next set of splitters were described as “folk Splitters” on eBay France. They are wooden. Their sizes are, from the top of the photograph downward: 32mm= 1.26 inches; 30 mm= 1.18 inches; and 33mm=1.30 inches. Looking at the base of each tool, two of the splitters have a flat bottomed edge to them. These two flat based splitters both have 7 fins. The other and smaller of the three has 6 fins and a rounded base. These are small tools that could easily be dropped. It is interesting how much of the wooden points still remain. Apparently found in the back of a drawer in an estate sale purchase in France. Were they purposefully protected by the previous owner? The Straw Shop has added them to the Collection.
Here is another look at the trio of splitters. Upon examination each splitter appears to have been hand carved from one piece of wood.
When and where they were made is unknown. We tested them with some wheat stalks shown below.
We were curious to see if the obviously hand carved splitters were possibly made by the same person woodcarver. The splitters are uniquely different from one another, but could they be marked in anyway?
The markings and styles of carving the wooden splitters are clearly made by different individuals. The wooden base below the wooden pin is completely different in style and execution from one splitter to the next. These splitters were not produced in any sort of commercial way. Wide use of wooden splitters does not appear in the straw splitter story, which makes these “folk splitters” even more unusual and interesting. Viewing the only other example of wooden splitters shown here, it is interesting to note the very sleek wooden splitters shown in Anne-Marie Choain’s collection above are shaped quite differently than the 3 wooden splitters shown above.
The Straw Shop will continue to update this page from time time. From the examples shown above thus far, it is interesting to see the same historically correct materials of bone, wood and metal; used to create different tools to split straw.
The Straw Shop invites you to add images of your splitters to this page! Please contact: email@example.com
The Straw Shop appreciates the shared images by Anne-Marie Choain and Jimmy Trujillo.