Item #20 – Bee candle snuffer

This item is a curiosity – as in, I keep it only because it is odd and curious. This was a Christmas gift from a friend who delights in giving odd things that she finds in odd places (mostly antique shops, or strange little stores in West Vancouver). This item is odd because it is a) so disconnected from me (I’m neither a bee nor a candle person*) and b) it is so completely ill-suited for its stated purpose.

The item is a silver plated candle snuffer, in the shape of a beehive. It is not a trifling item – it is weighty both in provenance and mass. Kenneth Turner is purveyor of candles, fragrances and toiletries to the man who would be king, Prince Charles, so this is a snuffer with pedigree. It also weighs a considerable amount for a device intended for convenience:

When extinguishing candles, rather than blowing them out and risking hot wax being scattered across your surfaces, hold the candle snuffer over the flame for a few seconds.

This assumes one is extinguishing ones own candles, and not having your candle butler do it for you after brandy.

One of the remarkable things about this item is the bee (shown with a clothespin for scale):

It is enormous (it would never fit in that hive) and frightening. It does not look at all natural or anatomically correct, and if something that size or configuration was crawling around my parlour, I would want something other than a snuffer.

As a snuffer, it is especially challenged. The bell-shaped hive is fixed to the end of the long handle, and so one would need to be level with the candle, with complete access to the flame, in order for this to be effective. Candles inside sconces or other containers or that require reaching up or down could not be snuffed. Sconces or holders would be at significant risk from this item. It seems uniquely suited to candles of the taper type (as might appear on a formal dining table in a palace) and so less than practical in…well, anywhere else.

That being said, the object would serve well as a weapon. As mentioned, it is hefty – a solid piece of kit, as they say. The bee is also sharp-edged, making it both a hazard to the clumsy and an potentially crafty murder weapon; it would be ideally placed as such in a period drama or Agatha Christie mystery.

Despite, or perhaps because of the above, this would be a lousy candle snuffer. Besides, It would be a shame to stick that lovely polished silver into a flame, getting it all sooty. (I should point out the quality here – this item has been in a box for the past 13+ years, and is not the slightest bit tarnished.) So it remains in its lovely blue box (with the non sequitur of the Tulipa rococo on the cover) on a shelf in my room. I thought for a while that I might re-gift it or sell it, but cannot think of whom might want such a thing, or who might value it as much as I do for its oddness and its weird beauty.

* I did, at one time, have a significant interest in candles, in that I sold them as part of a home-based business. But my PartyLite days ended a long time ago, and several years before this gift.

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