A necessary desk accessory from the 18th and early 19th centuries. A sander or more correctly known as a pounce pot was kept close to the quill pen and bottle of ink. Pounce is a fine powder made from powdered cuttlefish bone, pumice or gum-sandarac rosin (from the resin of a specific kind of cypress tree). Early paper was “unsized” or lacking the thin gelatinous material used to fill the surface of the paper and make it smooth enough for writing. Unsized paper has a slightly greasy surface and the pounce absorbed and smoothed the paper surface so that the quill or steel nib pen could be used to write on the paper without smudging. After writing, the paper could be slightly shaken to keep the scripted ink from bleeding through the paper. Once papers were routinely sized, the pounce could be shaken over the paper after writing to help the ink to dry a bit faster. I read many articles that said that the pounce actually did little to hasten drying time so the long-time continued use of pounce pots may have been out of misunderstood traditions. This pounce pot is simply turned from one piece of wood and stained yellow. It shows a few nibbles around the top edge and minor wear. The punched star design on the top is sunk into a concave top. The bowl-like top allowed used pounce to be poured back into the pot and reused. It also meant that a removable bottom was unnecessary since the pounce could be poured into the bowl of the top without spilling. 3 3/8" tall. First half of 19th century.