You could be forgiven for assuming this jewelry display rack was purpose-built. But look a little closer: It's obviously an antique, and if you look at the channels cut into it, you can see that they antedate the invention of the router. Someone went to a lot of trouble to chisel those out, by hand, with a consistency that practically screams "manufacturing." But what could this thing possibly have been used to make?
Hit the jump to find out.It's a cigar mold. While hand-rolling cigars is considered an art, molds help the process move closer to a science. By using molds, cigar manufacturers could drastically reduce the training time required of workers, as the wooden forms removed the high level of skill required to roll a perfect blunt.
A true cigar aficionado would probably scoff, preferring fatties made the original way, but the lure of a lower-quality product that could be mass manufactured was too tempting for many a cigar factory to resist.
Today hobbyists can still purchase brand-new cigar molds. The two you see below are manufactured by a company called Leaf Only and artisan John Rose, respectively.
The prettiest ones are still the antiques, though, and dealers know it: This framed 20-stogie mold will run you four figures.
Poke around Etsy, though (where the one up top has already been sold) or eBay, and you'll find these things aren't rare at all, despite what antique dealers would like you to think. While most Etsiers seem to be charging over $100, at press time there were plenty of $10 and $20 cigar molds on eBay with zero bids.
Of course, if you've got some maple (apparently the wood of choice) and a router with a round nose bit lying around, you could probably bang out some of your own in short order.