Description:Burnisher's emery strap. Used to clean and maintain burnishing tools.
Used in pottery making to enhance the appearance of fired gold decoration.
After firing, the gold decoration would be dull.
The gold was wiped with a moist abrasive powder called silver sand. It was then rubbed with a burnishing tool to give it a brilliant finish.
Burnishing tools have bloodstone or agate heads, which come into contact with the gold.
Maintenace of tools.
Burnishers purchased their own tools, which were expensive, so maintaining them was very important.
A putty strap would be used with burnisher's putty in the first stage of cleaning a burnishing tool.
The putty (or browning) would be placed on the strap.
The burnishing tool would then be rubbed vigorously on the strap to remove gold particles.
A second stage of cleaning then took place, which more thoroughly cleaned the bloodstone or agate head.
This involved an emery strap like the one in the picture and a substance called potash feldspar (or whiting).
The whiting was sprinkled on the strap and the tool rubbed vigorously to the give the head the required finish.
Taken from the Gladstone Pottery Museum Tools Collection.
This object is now part of the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.