Niche it!
BobbyGs Info

Microsoft Store




Back | Home | Up | Next

A variety of nutcrackers
A variety of nutcrackers

A nutcracker consists of a mechanical device for cracking nuts. It works on the principle of moments as described in Archimedes' analysis of the lever.


Nutcrackers in the form of wooden carvings of a soldier, knight, king, or other profession have existed since at least the 15th century. These nutcrackers portray a person with a large mouth which the operator opens by lifting a lever in the back of the figurine. Originally one could insert a nut in the big-toothed mouth, press down and thereby crack the nut. Modern nutcrackers in this style serve mostly for decoration, mainly at Christmastime.

The carving of nutcrackers — as well as of religious figures and of cribs —developed as a cottage industry in forested rural areas of Germany. The most famous nutcracker carvings come from Sonneberg in Thuringia (also a center of dollmaking) and from the Ore Mountains. Wood-carving usually provided the only income for the people living there. Today the travel industry supplements their income by bringing visitors to the remote areas.

Nutcrackers have become popular in the United States as well, and a recreated "Bavarian village" of Leavenworth, Washington even features a Nutcracker Museum. Many other materials also serve to make decorated nutcrackers, such as porcelain, silver, and brass; the museum displays samples.

Carvings by famous names like Junghanel, Klaus Mertens, Karl, Olaf Kolbe, Petersen, Christian Ulbricht and especially the Steinbach nutcrackers have become collectors' items. Herr Christian Steinbach, also known as the "King of Nutcrackers", started the tradition of hand-carving nutcrackers and is being continued by his daughter, Karla Steinbach. Steinbach Nutcrackers vary greatly in price, anywhere from $200 to over $1000, depending on the collectibility factor and availability.


A nutcracker with a functional design
A nutcracker with a functional design

Manufacturers produce modern nutcrackers — designed solely to crack nuts — usually somewhat resembling pliers, but with the pivot point at the end beyond the nut, rather than in the middle. End-users also utilise them for cracking the shells of crab and lobster in order to make the meat inside available for eating.

Parrots use their beaks as natural nutcrackers, in much the same way smaller birds crack seeds. In this case, the pivot point stands opposite the nut, at the jaw.

External links

Home | Up | Santa Claus | Advent calendar | Advent wreath | American Christmas traditions | Ashen faggot | Christmas Bird Count | Bracebridge dinner | Bubble light | Christmas card | Carols by Candlelight | Christmas cracker | Christmas customs in Poland | Christmas customs in Romania | Christmas customs in the Philippines | Christmas dinner | Christmas tree | Christmas worldwide | Christmastime greetings | Festival of Trees | Garland | German Christmas traditions | Grand Illumination | Hanukkah bush | Holiday Trail of Lights | Hollywood Christmas Parade | Koleda | Koledari | Kūčios | Christmas lights | Christmas Market | National Christmas Tree | Nativity scene | Nutcracker | Christmas ornament | Pagan beliefs surrounding Christmas | Pasterka | Christmas pickle | Pumpkin pie | Rich's Great Tree | Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree | Royal Christmas Message | Santa Claus | Santa Claus parade | Santa's Grotto | Santon | Christmas stamp | Christmas stocking | Striezelmarkt | Toronto Santa Claus Parade | Tree topper | Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper | Christmas village | Wassailing | Wigilia | Yule Goat | Yule log

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

Barnes & Noble