Small wooden pestle from a mortar and pestle set. The pestle has a rounded handle. It is worn and dirty, particularly around the handle and on the base used for grinding substances. There are many stains at various intervals, pretty much covering the whole object. The wood is a lighter wood, but it might have been the use that made it darker compared to what its original color would have been.
Paulina Franks' grandfather, John Rassogianis, came to Chicago in the 1890s. He began his life in the new city by peddling fruits and later, with the help of his sons Alex and George, would open a candy store. In the 1920s Paulina Franks' father Constantine became a part of the family business and the store was able to prosper. When the second business closed Paulina Rassogianis chose to hold as many of the candy store's items as possible and, later, donate them to the National Hellenic Museum.
The Rassogianis family began their candy business in Chicago proper, working out of their own shop named "St. Louis Ice Cream Parlor." Eventually, the shop was closed and the Rassogianis' chose to continue their candy store venture in Berwyn, Illinois. The new shop they chose to open was named Alex's Sweet Shop.
Paulina Franks' father was a key contributor to the success of the Rassogianis candy stores. While Constantine Rassogianis was a noteworthy entrepeneur, he also had many other accomplishments. Among these was his four years of involvment in the Greek national military during World War I wherein he obtained the rank of sergeant. Also, he was a published author and poet, an experienced mandolin player, a church officer and had extensive knowledge of psalti.
The history of mortars and pestles were actually first used around 35,000 years B.C. as dated from the earliest ones found. They are traditionally used in food preperation, as this one was, as well as for pharmaceutical purposes. Usually made of hard wood, marble, stone, bamboo, iron, steel, glass, porcelain, brass, and basalt. The materials must be hard enough to crush the substance rather than be worn away by it and strong enough so they will not break. Smooth and non-porous materials are chosen so that they will not absorb or trap the substances being ground, otherwise the taste from a previous preperation will be noticable in the food.
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Pestle, 1920 – 1940, Alex's Candy Shop, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/8665. Accessed 04/18/21.