Magpie Monday: A tale of Skiving, a Sugar Pot, and Silver Plate Polishing

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Home & Garden | 13 comments

I have been missing Magpie Monday so much due to an ever-increasing workload, but this week just had to get my fix. I took some naughty time-off on Friday, and sneaked off to my favourite charity shop (Force Cancer Charity in Exeter).

It’s been so long since I’ve been, that the rail of dresses has been replaced by a rail of winter coats. I searched the whole shop, but did not find anything I liked, which is unusual for me in this wonderful emporium. But then, I spotted this:



A crystal sugar bowl with a heavily-tarnished metal lid. But no ordinary metal lid, oh no. The arms on top are part of an internal mechanism of scissor-like pincers, that allow you to pick up a sugar cube from the bowl (imaginary ones for now, as ‘contents were not included’ in the charity shop). Now I don’t take sugar, but how could I resist this pot at a mere £2?


The pincers were stamped with the marks ‘The “S.O.S. PASCALL’S PATENTS’, ‘E.P.N.S.’ and ‘PAT. NO. 14048/16′. A quick google led me to similar items on ebay (sold for a lot more that £2), and then onto ‘how to clean E.P.N.S.’ The top answer was to line a bowl with aluminium foil, place the item made from E.P.N.S. (that’s Electro Plated Nickel Silver to you and me) in the bowl, making sure it is touching the foil, and cover with a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and hot water (two teaspoons to half a pint of water), leave for 15 mins, rinse in clean water, and hey presto!:

The lid polished up a treat, and I learnt something in the process. The science of how this cleaning method works is very interesting, read about it here (if you’re into that kind of thing, i.e. chemistry!)

I now look forward to having some sweet-toothed friends over so I can say ‘one lump or two?’ and impress them with my pincers!

Delighted to be back taking part in Missie Lizzie‘s Magpie Monday. Click the badge below to be transported there to see what other thrifty finds the magpies have picked up this week: 

Me and My Shadow

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  1. I’m wishing I took sugar right now. That is a very pretty sugar bowl! Didn’t it polish up a treat too x

  2. I take sugar in my coffee!!!! Can I come round?

    It’s GORGEOUS. Lucky you.

    Very interesting tip about the cleaning method too, I just dip in naughty chemicals but this is much greener.

    So glad to see you back, I’ve missed you. They are working you too hard. xx

  3. What a beaut, I found something similar in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago but it had a horrible plastic lid but the same cool mechanism. Wish the one I’d seen had been as lovely as yours as I would have snapped it up in an instant. Well done with the restoration, it looks amazing! x

  4. Nice find and looks good all cleaned up

  5. I like clever things and those pincers make this clever. You are also clever in finding out how to clean it to such good effect.

  6. Wow! A great gadget and didn’t it shine up well!

    No doubt the next person who wants to find out how to restore EPNS to its former glory will find this blogpost and see what great results can be achieved :)

  7. Gorgeous find, very pretty.

  8. Glad to hear you got chance to sneak off for a bit of long overdue thrifting – you deserve it – and look what you found!! Meant to be x

  9. I love it, what a brilliant find, it’s beautiful. And thanks so much for the detail on how to clean EPNS – I have a new teapot I bought for 10p which needs some love.

  10. I was looking on google for the answer to the cleaning question and actually have two of these sugar bowls really useful article thank you

    • So glad that it was useful, thanks for commenting

  11. I bought a sugar jar with the same E.P.N.S tong lid today, and a google search brought me here too! Quite wish I’d found it before I shrugged and (sparingly) used Brasso on mine. It looks lovely now but this other method sounds far better. Anyway, thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment – enjoy your sugar bowl!

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