Happy Friday! Today’s Word of the Day at Dictionary.com is Treen. I have never heard this word before, but I must say I am a fan of antique treen pieces. Treen is an adjective that means entirely made of wood; small domestic wooden objects, especially antiques, treenware. The word originated in the 11th century. Its original adjective meanings “made of tree (i.e., wood), wooden; pertaining to trees or a tree” are obsolete or rare in standard English. Its current usage (20th century) as a noun refers to small articles or utensils made of wood, woodenware.
Wikipedia states that treenware is “distinct from furniture, such as chairs, and cabinetry, as well as clocks and cupboards. Before the 17th century, when silver, pewter, and ceramics were introduced for tableware, most small household items were carved from wood.”
According to the Encylcopedia Brittanica Online, Treen was unique in that it was carved from a single piece of wood. I found a few photos online that illustrate the craftsmanship that went into carving treen. The shoe treens below are actually snuff boxes.
So, if you’re like me and you never knew what treenware was…now you do. Next time I’m antique shopping I will pay particular attention to these treasures. Might have to start a collection of a treen or two. J
a forgotten craft
small hand-carved treenware treasures
for everyday use