Likely Maine, circa 2nd half, 19th century. Deeply carved and polychromed with two pair of hearts, geometrics, and the initials E.C. Chamfered original cap that is unjoined and rests into the top opening. Superb original condition. Stands about 4 inches tall.....Spruce gum is hardened sap which breaks cleanly from the tree. In the 19th century, an entire industry developed around the spruce gum, particularly in Maine. Gatherers were typically woodsmen, lumbermen and trappers, and a few professionals know as gummers. They used a pole with a chisel to pry off the nuggets. They often earned more for gumming than as lumberjacks. Spruce gum boxes were a lumberman's art form, often carved deep in the woods for a loved one at home from whom they may be apart for months. Many of these gum boxes became family heirlooms. Gum boxes were small, averaging about two by three by five inches, and were filled with spruce gum. Some had intricate carvings, often with hearts, while others consisted of simple geometric designs with chip carving around the edge.
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