See the ball in the middle of this picture. I suppose it’s a bit smaller than a bowling ball. It’s got a vine growing on it. The owner of this ball ask me to identify it for him. He said he had ask a lot of people but no one knew. It’s not a decorative orb meant to sit by itself….or at least I don’t think so. I think I’ve found the answer. They were popular during the Victorian era. One of my clues in indentifying the object has to do with where it was found. The owner says he found it during low tide on the shores of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC.
He’s a modern day treasure hunter. Ships from all over the country would sail in and out of the Wilmington harbor. They would bring goods of every kind to sell and trade with the area merchants. The owner of this ball spends many a quiet afternoon with his head down in search of these types of things.
He has pipes, buckles, tableware, buttons, swords, boots, and you name it from the Victorian era. He takes folks out treasure hunting and helps them train their eye for these long forgotten pieces of the past. He’ll go behind where you just stepped and find things like coins. You didn’t notice it at all even though your eyes looked right at it. He knows how to sort the beach debris from the man made objects. It’s not so easy.
This very heavy ball had to be rolled all the way to the car as it could not be carried. It was hauled back to the garden and has remained there for several years. Many pass but no one knows what it is. I have two possible and likely needs for such a heavy ball. First—you must guess.
Do you think you know?
My recent research leads me to believe it’s a pier cap stone. I think it is purely decorative and was used to adorn the main two entry pillars on the front sidewalk. The Victorian era was stately and ornate. The balls were ordered and sat on the top of columns. It was simply a finishing touch.
My other guess is a gravity latch ball. It would be held in some type of basket or chain hammock and would cause the gate to close due to gravity. Have you seen those?
So what is your guess or maybe you really do know!