BRITISH OR CONTINENTAL MAHOGANY BRASS-BOUND TRAVELING BOTTLE CASE / TANTALUS, open-dovetailed construction, the hinged lid concealing a felt-lined interior fitted for bottles and glasses, retains removable tray, two bottles, and one glass, each possibly associated, original Brittania carrying handles attached at ends. Retains a fine old surface with rich color and an old typed note indicating "Old liquor chest / from the home of / Judge & Mrs. Frederick Watts / of Carlisle, Pennsylvania". Second quarter 19th century. 10 1/2" H, 16 1/4" W, 11 1/4" D.
Scattered cracks, scratches. Lacking most bottles and other accoutrements. Water stain to top.
Provenance: Property descended in the family of Dr. William Miller Duncan, Staunton, VA.
Catalogue Note: Frederick Watts (1801-1899) was an important 19th-century American businessman, lawyer, agricultural and educational reformer, who, among other accomplishments, served as the nation's first Secretary of Agriculture during the Grant Administration and helped to found what is now Penn State University. Watts began his career as a lawyer, but soon explored a number of other business opportunities, including railroads, iron manufacturing, oil, gas, and public utilities, all the while maintaining a large farm. It was at this very farm in 1840, in fact, that Watts and inventor, Cyrus McCormick, rather famously demonstrated the latter's mechanical reaper in action for the first time. Watts served long terms on the Board of Trustees for both Penn State University and Dickinson College, served in the Grant Administration, and helped to usher in a number of educational reforms regarding agricultural and technical colleges. The present lot has descended directly in the family to the present owner.