I first found out about string holders in a book from the local library about kitchen collectibles. Back when people wrapped all their packages with twine and string instead of tape. So nice! And what could be nicer than pulling your twine out of the mouth of a chalkware character's mouth?
String holders were first made around the 1860s and became common by the early 1900s. In the 1920s, with chalkware gaining popularity (see my chalkware post), most holders from the 20s - 50s (especially the 40s) were made in this material. These figural holders are the most commonly found today. Most hang on the wall with a little hook. There was a vast array of figural string holders from this period, but some of the most common that I've seen are cats, dogs, the dutch girl (above), chefs, indians, boy smoking a pipe (see top photo), & black americana/mammies.
|'little miss hershey chocolate'|
|'little miss sunbeam'|
|bordens co. elsie the cow|
There are a bunch of fruit and vegetable ones that are weird, creepy, and pretty funny. Strawberries, pears, peaches, carrots.... here's a tomato:
Many of them had little cutter pieces attached for added convenience, and better yet, many had little holes to hold scissors! Isn't that the best? There is a common kangaroo of this type, a cat, and some others, but my favorite is this fox one, because the scissor handles make eyeglasses! So clever!