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Home >> From 1600 to 1867 >> Identity, Culture & Communities >> Artifacts

Daily life and challenges for the various groups involved in the fur trade.

Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3 | Image 4 | Image 5
Creator: Unknown; England
Year made: Early 1800s
Dimensions: 28 cm long; 2.1.cm wide; 2 cm. high
Location: The Manitoba Museum; Artifact HBC 2446
Copyright Holder: The Manitoba Museum

(M29) Frances' Engraved Seal

Face of metal wax seal engraved with the name “Frances.” The short ornate handle is decorated with a thin layer of gold, or “gilt”, and a blue ribbon.

The seal may have been made from sard, a brownish-red variety of chalcedony or quartz mineral used as a gemstone (carnelian). This seal once belonged to Frances Simpson, the wife of Sir George Simpson.

Other Related Material
Read excerpts from Frances' journal - enter 'Frances' in the search box to your left.

What is different between Image 1 and Image 2 of the seal? Which image is the accurate one and how do you know?

What does Frances Simpson look like?

Check the Beaver Index - e.g., Journey for Frances [Parts 1-3], by Grace Lee Nute, December 1953, March 1954 and June 1954.

Did You Know?
In the early 19th century, letters were hand-folded and sealed with wax rather than glue. The purpose of the wax seal was to secure the contents of the letter and to identify the sender.

In order to seal a letter, a lit candle was tipped over the area to be closed. A sealing wax was held to the candle flame, allowing the droplets of wax to pool at the open edge of a fold. The wax was then stamped with an engraved instrument called a seal.

The sealing wax contained a resin and other materials that made it hard and glossy. This enabled the user to make an impression into the soft wax without its losing its shape.