Whisky curling stone miniature decanters, like these, are common items in any collection of curling memorabilia. The two above were produced by Peter Thomson of Perth Ltd, wholesale wine and spirit merchants, and contained Beneagles Scotch whisky. I believe these will date from the 1970s.
Importantly, the handle is the stopper, the container being filled, and emptied, from the top!
This photo shows the stopper and a colour variation with the same marks on the bases.
These may be earlier. The description is stamped on the base. The stone on the left still has its original ribbon and seal.
Putting a date on exactly when these decanters were manufactured is difficult, but here is one produced and sold when the Air Canada Silver Broom World Curling Championship came to Perth in 1975. The stopper is the handle.
Similar commemorative stones were produced for the 1980 and 1981 world championships, but these had a different design with the stopper in the bottom of the stone, see below.
The stones were packaged in card boxes. I believe this is the earlier of the two in my collection.
Two more colour variations, again with the handles as the stoppers. No markings on the bases.
Here are two with the Beneagles eagle, and description of the contents, stamped on the side of the containers.
By 1980, the design of the ceramic container had changed, the stopper now being at the bottom of the stone, and the handle and the body of the stone being molded as one piece.
These containers are clearly marked WADE.
This container is marked Carlton Ware.
I believe these later containers were packaged in boxes like this.
That's not the end of the story, and a lot more questions remain to be answered.
Here's a container, with a bottom stopper but no markings on the base, yet it appears to have been constructed in two pieces, the body, and separate handle.
These two containers are made from a similar design mold but may not contain Beneagles whisky. The sticker covering the stopper simply says Scotch Whisky Souvenir.
Here are two containers, with handle stoppers, clearly stamped with the mark of the Govancroft Pottery. I do not know what whisky they contained. The Govancroft Pottery in Glasgow existed from 1911-1976, on London Road, at the corner of Potter Street.
In more recent years, into the 21st century, curling stone whisky miniatures containing Glen Calder Scotch have been marketed by Gordon and MacPhail of Elgin. The containers have the mark WTK 50 ml on the base. Although very similar to the Beneagles miniatures, the design of these containers, apparently manufactured in Italy, has reverted to the stopper being the stone handle.
These are the most valuable in my collection, as they retain their original contents!
Yes there will be a Part 2, which will describe whisky decanters of different shape. To follow!