[Sca-cooks] table fountains

Mark Hendershott crimlaw at jeffnet.org
Thu Oct 26 22:00:17 PDT 2006

The Hesse family exhibition in Portland, Oregon had a couple of 
these.  17th c if I recall.  No explanation of how they worked but 
you might find some answers by looking for info on them.  They were complete.

Simon Sinneghe
Briaroak, Summits, An Tir

At 09:22 PM 10/26/2006, Stefan wrote:
>I am currently reading "Feast - A History of Grand Eating" by Roy
>On page 99-100 in the medieval section he says:
>"Ironically it [the nef] was not the salt that was destined to be the
>greatest of all the display pieces but the table fountain.  These
>were not only ches d'oeuvre of the goldsmith's craft but were items
>of extreme ingenuity, involving the movement of liquids, wine or
>perfumed waters, which spurted or spouted and whose pressure caused
>figures to move or bells to jingle. We know that they already existed
>in the thirteenth century, and they begin turning up in inventories
>in the fourteenth century." Various examples of these fountains. "The
>surviving example in the museum at Cleveland (ohio), despite its
>missing basin and foot, gives some impression of the magnificence of
>these pieces, whose sole purpose was to amaze."
>So, anyone near Cleveland seen this?
>Has anyone created such a fountain for a feast?
>While it is probably more appropriate for a headtable, it still might
>be intriguing for a regular table. My first idea would be to use a
>pump from one of the miniature table fountains that have become
>popular in the last few years, or maybe even use the correct style of
>fountain itself as a starting point. I'm not quite sure how to get
>the auxiliary items to do their movements, but I can see using
>additional motors or the flowing liquid itself.
>Does anyone have any ideas on how they would have done one of these
>fountains in period, since the modern cheat of using small battery
>driven pumps wasn't available? I can see using a storage resevoir at
>a higher position, but without recirculating the liquid i imagine the
>amount of liquid squirting out of the fountain would have to be a
>tiny stream. Unless they were removed after one course.
>I can also imagine some problems if the fountain malfunctions and
>starts squirting red wine about.
>THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
>     Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas
>StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
>**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****
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