Drinking Horn - Photo © Zil, 13 july 2009
The use of horn for household and personal items can be dated back to the beginning of the bronze age. The craft of Horn working was essential to early medieval communities and the hornworkers' guilds were among the earliest formed in England. The Worshipful Company of Horners dates back to 1284 and were responsible for manufacturing such items as shoe horns, drinking horns, hunting horns, window and lantern panes, knife sword and dagger handles, ink wells, bow ends, needlework and lacemaking tools, combs,fans, buttons and many other useful everyday items. Horn is impervious to odours making it ideal for such items as spoons, scoops, salt and pepper pots. Many items formally made from horn are today made from plastic and the most prestigious award given for excellence in plastics design is, "The Worshipful Company of Horners Award" administered by the British Plastics Federation.
Horn is a natural thermoplastic but being an organic substance, decomposes quickly. For this reason very few archaeological finds of horn products are made.Return to Main Index