Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mysterious Gift

Posted January 4, 2012



How were your holidays? Did you receive any unusual gifts?  I received a mysterious gift. It was sitting on my desk when I returned to work Monday. It was accompanied by a hand written note that read: 

 I crafted this for you and your family. Enjoy it! Merry Christmas.     Earl Simpson/  Brasstown, NC 

I have attached a picture of this hammered copper vessel with a brass handle. I really like the piece. It looks like something you would find at Quaker Meadows in Morganton where my ancestors lived before the Revolutionary War. 

I would like to send Mr. Simpson a thank you note but he didn’t leave a phone number or address and I haven’t been able to locate anyone in Brasstown by his name. Perhaps he put this together at John C. Campbell Craft School in the mountains at Brasstown but lives elsewhere. 

At first I wasn’t sure what the gift was. WRAL Producer Scott Nagel said “it looks like a spittoon to me!” Auctioneer Leland Little set the record straight after stopping by our studios for an interview this morning. Leland pegged it as a ladle.    I can definitely use a ladle more than a spittoon!

But then I heard from WRAL staffer Amanda Smith and I think she's got it right especially after checking images on Google.  Here is Amanda's explanation:

"Your gift is a Turkish coffee pot.  It makes extremely dark coffee and you don't filter out the grounds.  The grounds settle to the bottom of your coffee cup and you just have to be careful not to stir up the coffee grounds when you are drinking.  I have a Turkish coffee grinder if you want to try and make some coffee."

Mystery solved....I think!


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  • Rico Jan 14, 2012

    old timmey crack pipe?

  • Smokin Jan 5, 2012

    Yep, Turkish coffee pot (ibrik). Grind coffee to a powder and boil in it. STRONG. Ladles for melting lead are usually round, pretty shallow and cast iron to tolerate the heat.

  • mcatfan Jan 5, 2012

    If he made it at Brasstown, couldn't you contact the school to find out what it is because someone gave him the idea to make it and someone else there may have made the same thing?

  • TheDude abides... Jan 5, 2012

    You use it to put oil in you car without spilling it all over the engine.

  • lookn4spac Jan 5, 2012

    Looks like what Mel Gibson used to melt the toy soldiers to make his bullets in The Patriot.

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Bill Leslie