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Nutcrackers at Christmas - A Small Gallery of Different Nutcrackers
Nutcrackers - A Brief History and Photos
Nuts have been a part of humanity probably since its beginnings. Thus, the need for nutcrackers to help open the nuts that human teeth couldn't break into easily. You can search a brief interesting history of how mankind has used creative and innovative ways to open the shells.
One of the oldest, if not the oldest metal nutcracker known currently, dates back to around the third or fourth century, and is housed in a museum in Tarent Italy. However, there is also a bronze nutcracker which is dated somewhere between 200 BC and 200 AD. It had been preserved by being buried for over 1800 years. It was found in 1960, and is housed in the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.
There were actually some nutcrackers made of more fragile materials, but few exist today for what seem to be obvious reasons. They were made of bone, ivory, and porcelain. Some of these probably were very beautiful, and some still remain at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. One thing is for sure, no one is using them to open nuts today!
The standing wooden nutcrackers in the form of soldiers and kings that many of us are familiar with, were shown in theSonneberg and Erzgebirge regions in Germany in 1800 and 1830. One could find the term "Nussknacker" in a Brother's Grim Dictionary. By 1872, a man named Wilhelm Fuchtner, became known as the "Father of the Nutcracker." He made the first commercial production of nutcrackers, which made many of the same design, using the lathe.
Of course, the popular Nutcracker Ballet has created a love of Nutcrackers, and Germany works hard to meet the demand for Nutcrackers even just for the collectors in the United States. From toy soldiers to kings to animals, you can find a variety of nutcrackers today.
The nutcrackers I share here are some fun and festive designs, similar to others I have seen come out at Christmas time. Its hard for me not to think back to happy memories of going to my first Nutcracker Ballet as a child during one Christmas season. It was at a local Junior College, the first time I saw it. I was very impressed and it was a lot of fun. Its a great thing to go and see if you never have before.
In our house now, we continue to use the simple metal nutcrackers. I can see why people begin to collect them however. It would be fun to have a neat collection and actually use them for their "purpose", but I imagine the die hard collectors save their most prized nutcrackers for decoration alone. Who could blame them?