Branford House Antiques
A Historic 1850s Farmhouse on a Scenic Vermont Dairy Farm

Sticking Tommys

Sticking Tommys really go way back and were often used to hold the fat lamp (Bette Lamp) up and away from a wooden beam or log wall in the cabin. It got the light up high and also the heat and flame away from the very flamable beam or wall. They were generally hand forged and made by the local smitty and were very common every day items in colonial America. The early ones were just simple spikes and other later ones had a top hook and a candle holder and were used mostly by hard rock miners. They would hook the Tommy onto their soft caps so that they had light while walking through the mind.

Grouping of 3 Early Sticking Tommys

These three (3) Tommys are being sold as one lot. They are good examples of early Tommys and date back to the 18th century and were probably in use in Colonial America. Each is hand forged and made by a local Smitty. Can you imagine them sticking into a log cabin while early American Settlers were having dinner at the table? They are 11.25, 9 and 8.75 inches long.


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High Grade Sticking Tommy

This is a high grade Sticking Tommy and was used by hard rock gold miners in Northern California sometime after the 1849 gold rush. It was made by a black smith but we couldn't find any markings or signature on it. It is a "high grade" Sticking Tommy because the handle was intentionally grooved. This allowed the gold miner to hide gold flakes in the grooves and then cake mud over the flakes. It became a popular way miners snuck some gold past the observers at the end of a shift. Who would have thought to look at the Tommy sticking in the hat for smuggled gold? This Tommy is approximately 10.5 inches long.

A 19th Century miner's candlestick
Hand forged by a skilled blacksmith
Used during hard rock mining for gold
And its secret revealed when all told.

The handle was hallowed out a bit
But smoothed when caked with mud
To cover the gold flakes and dust
And all because of the infamous gold lust

Stuck into the cap while walking to the job site
Providing light in an old California gold mine
Then stuck into a timber to light up the site
And always kept safely away from the dynamite

"High Grade" because of the hallowed out handle
And for only $375, it's yours, including the candle


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Sticking Tommy

This is pretty much a typical Sticking Tommy used by hard rock miners in California, Canada, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona and other parts of the west during the third quarter of the 19th century and following the 1849 Gold Rush and before lanterns and hard hats. It was hand forged and made by a blacksmith. It held a candle and was stuck into the early miner's soft cap and used for light while walking to or from the work site. When at the site, it was stuck into a shoring timber to provide the necessary work light. We could not find a blacksmith name, initial or any other markings. It is approximately 8.75 inches long.


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Sticking Tommy - Blacksmith Made & Signed

This is a very nice blacksmith made Sticking Tommy from the mid 19th century and either during or shortly after the 1849 California Gold Rush. It is the type used by hard rock miners in the West before lantern technology advanced for mine use. It is signed "Varney" which was either the blacksmith's name who made the Tommy or the miner's name who use it.

This Tommy is approximately 9.5 inches wide and about 3.5 inches high. it is the type that was stuck into the miner's soft hat and then into shoring timbers when at the work site.


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