TM1997_297.jpg Nutcracker (about 1930s). Cambrian Engineering Company. Collection of Puke Ariki (TM1997.297).

Patent rights often went out the window as resourceful New Zealanders made ends meet during the Depression. Metal trade apprentices at New Plymouth firm Cambrian Engineering entered into the spirit of the times by casting multiple copies of a range of foreign commercial gifts including model yachts, model planes, ornaments and nutcrackers.

This two-piece alligator nutcracker, which was cast in bronze and plated in nickel, is based on a similar model manufactured in the United States since the late 19th Century. Cambrian Engineering Company Ltd is still operational today producing a range of products including architectural hardware, hose and pipe fittings, spray pumps and knife sharpening steels.

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