A rare Old Sheffield Plate cucumber slicer, having a hollow cylinder mounted onto a baluster
form pedestal base
bordered with reeding and stylized foliate
scrolls, original handle; steel cutting blade
Cucumber slicers are quite rare, and an
example of innovations that began with the dawn of the Industrial
Revolution in the late 1700's. The cucumber would have been placed
inside the cylinder, and held in place by a spikes mounted onto a
This disc moved forward as the handle was
turned, pushing the cucumber forward within in the cylinder.
steel blade then cut the cucumber into thin slices for
accompaniments to bread and butter.
Condition : Excellent with expected minor bleed on some of the high
7.75” High x 10” Wide
ABOUT CUCUMBER SLICERS
“Cucumber slicers of Sheffield plate were very possibly the notion
of George Stephenson (1780 - 1848).
The celebrated locomotive
engineer lived, after his second marriage in 1819, at Tapton House,
a few miles south of Sheffield
in the neighbourhood of his principal
coalmines. Stephenson was an ardent gardener and counted among his
interests the propagation of straight cucumbers. This
he achieved by maturing each cucumber in a glass tube measuring
a foot in length and with a diameter of about two inches.
These somewhat resembled test tubes, with a slight curvature
side and with one end sealed with a knob.
In clear molded glass
they cost 1s 9d a pound at the glasshouse and 2s 4d in flint-glass.
Cucumber glasses could have been made at any one of the several
glasshouses near Sheffield.
Stephenson amused himself and puzzled visiting celebrities by
serving them with thinly sliced raw cucumbers of uniform size
thickness instead of the fashionable cucumber stew containing
'slices as thick as a crown piece'
and of unpredictable size and
shape from the distorted cucumbers then grown.
The Sheffield plate cucumber slicer consisted of a horizontal tube
supported on a sturdy stand with a baluster stem
and a round foot
weighted with loom. The silver plating served to protect the salad
from the unpalatable flavor of acidic
cucumber juice upon base
metal. Fitted to one end of the tube was the steel blade razor thin
which could be revolved
on a spindle operated by hand crank.
blade could be removed quickly for cleaning by detaching a small
Cucumber slicers in silver and ivory have been
Sheffield Silver Plate, G. Bernard Hughes, pp.258-9
A cucumber slicer with an identical stem is pictured in the same
volume, Illustration # 239