Saturday, October 20, 2012

A vintage sleeping cot

My great grandfather had built a large house to accommodate one and all as it was a joint family system that was in vogue a hundred years ago.  With passing years, family numbers dwindled to the extent that the house was seen as 'too big'.  My grandfather who was now the head of the family decided to move to a smaller house which he bought close by.  So it was rented out in 1950.

When this shifting took place, many old things were dumped in a small room upstairs.  Most of that lot were not required for use but some were, but less frequently, like the Dolls for Dasara Festival.  So we went there to fetch them on an annual basis and then to keep them back after the festival.  That first floor was also rented.  Because that extra room was in bad condition they were dumped there and it was not a serious issue with the tenant. 

In the early 70s, nearly 20 years after they were dumped, my father started to search for a big cot as he wanted to reassemble and use it.  He could not find all its 'parts'.  Some items were also hiding in that small cluttered room.  They were never touched [except for the doll box] for 20+ years.  It was such a tight clutter that items could not be moved to search at the back!  So he got disgusted and dropped that idea.  At that time, I was wondering how that cot would be.  He used to say it was a tall one.

The first thing I did when the tenant had been evicted in 2008 was to search for that cot there!  By then, my father too had passed away and we too had to leave that house following the inevitable event of property partition.  Remember, they were dumped in 1950 and now they were destined to be removed by me!  Dusty junk!  At last, I found all the parts of disassembled the cot, including the mosquito net frame.  I was not even patient to reassemble it in the next hour.  It had to be done immediately.  Such was my curiosity.  It was a fantastic cot. 

In the meantime, I had already moved to the old house my great grandfather built [in 1911] and now I brought it for use.  In all probabilities, it belonged to my great grandfather.  Going by the intricate workmanship, my guesstimate is that it may be from the 1880s, when he was young.

The first thing I did was to wash it with water because of the amount of dust it had accumulated for nearly 60 years.  Visible here.  Also see the planks.

The workmanship that was covered with dust was visible now when water pushed the dust!  The cot is of rose wood inlaid nicely with different wood.  In some places, the inlaid pieces have fallen off. 

Beautiful workmanship.  The carpenter's skill is on show, esp. with the way the 'diamond trellis' design is made.  

Close up showing inlay work of both wood and brass.  When I applied colourless polish, it looked nice.  I also 'zero sandpapered' before applying polish.

Notice the big brass rings to the poles on both sides. One portion of the trellis is missing. So I have used that space to place my bedside radio!! Not seen in this set of pictures. 

Room is small, so I could not go back to get the full view from the camera.

The vintage 'sleeping cot' was itself sleeping for more than 60 years.  I woke it up.  Now it makes me sleep!
It was not actually junk, but 'junked' away.  So I thought it would fit in to my blog. 


  1. Beautiful cot indeed. Useful information too.
    Can you pl provide me joint details/closeup snaps at the 4 legs and 4 pillars meant for mosquito net? As I am getting made one cot for myself, these will help me. So please

  2. ~Sri Krishna Bhat,
    Nice to hear from you. Write to me on my mail please and I'll send you close-up photos.
    dinakar58 at yahoo dot com Do write more details of your planned cot.


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