1890s intricately pierced vegetable ivory measuring tape w stanhope

Made in 1890s France, this diminutive barrel-form measuring tape was intricately carved from Coquille nut or “vegetable ivory,” which is actually the fruit of a Brazilian palm tree. It has a lovely, warm patina and very detailed drilled and incised patterns of openwork around the body.

The overall condition is excellent, free of chips or cracks except for a couple tiny nicks on the base only noticeable under magnification. The soft peachy-pink measuring tape unrolls and retracts smoothly, and has the original bone ring at the end. The tape is slightly faded, the bone ring is still attached and the tape unrolls and retracts smoothly.

The carved bone (ox or cow) finial contains an intact Stanhope viewer with a multi-scene labeled “Niagara Falls Canada, Made in France.” It measures about 1-5/8″ tall and 3/4″ across at the bottom.