Bible box

From Academic Kids

A Bible box is a small container whose form was originally meant to store and/or use a bible.

In much of Europe this kind of box was produced in a good number of materials, such as wood, metal or ceramics, in simple or extremely ornate styles. They were popular in the 17th century. Many of the more refined examples can be found in museums.

In Colonial America this container was produced locally in a great variety of styles and finishes, by amateurs and professionals. Just about anybody who could afford nails, a few planks of wood and a hammer could improvise a bible box.

About the size of a bible, this box could be used to transport in safety what was a very costly book in the 13 colonies. Many varieties had a slanted or angled top with a lower lip, meant to hold the bible for reading, when the box was placed on a table. In a sense it then served as a portable lectern. Over the years the typical bible box was also used or specifically built to also contain writing implements such as a quill, an inkpot, blotting paper and writing paper. The level or slanted surface of the box then served as a desktop, for writing as well as reading.

The term "Bible box" is sometimes wrongly used in the United States to qualify antique objects which are in fact simple portable desks with no biblical connection.

See also the List of desk forms and types.

References

  • Aronson, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966.
  • Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1991.
  • Nutting, Wallace. Furniture Treasury. New York: Macmillan publishing, 1963.
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