1870,  Browse By Era,  Browse by Subject,  Tools, Machines and Manufacture,  Victorian

Wooden Toothpicks.

Every eating-house visitor of this city and other leading cities of the Union has doubtless noticed a small tumbler of wooden toothpicks upon the counter of the cashier, for the use of customers. These toothpicks are a good feature of the present day. The wooden toothpicks have to a considerable extent superseded the gold, horn, ivory, and other articles of the kind formerly in use. Their manufacture is carried on by but one establishment, which has been in operation four years. It is near Boston, and employs thirty hands of both sexes. The machinery has been patented, and is propelled by water-power. The woods used are maple and willow. The agency is solely in this city, and all purchases for use elsewhere must be made here. The toothpicks are packed in pasteboard boxes of two sizes. One box is three inches long, by two wide and one deep. It contains three hundred, and sells for six cents. The other incloses twenty-five hundred, and is five inches long, three wide and three deep. The boxes are packed in wooden cases for shipment, or retailed in the city singly by the carriers. The sales are quite large, and amount at times to forty or fifty cases a day, each containing one hundred thousand toothpicks. The aggregate number sold, therefore, amounts in that period to four or five millions.