Thing of the Month July 2021
Four-leaf shamrock on a milk watcher
This porcelain disc is a household item that is no longer common today - a milk watcher. It is placed on the bottom of the pot when boiling milk so that it makes the boiling point audible with a rattling sound when it heats up. This alarm is intended to prevent the milk from boiling over.
Milk monitors are almost unheard of today. They are made of sturdy materials such as porcelain or stainless steel, as they must withstand high temperatures, but should not rust. It is not known when and in what context the milk monitor was invented.
The Museum der Dinge has recently received an extensive private collection of historical milk watchers. On this one, you can see a four-leaf clover. These rare mutations are considered a symbol of luck in Western cultures and can be traced back to a Christian legend. According to this, the biblical figure Eve is said to have taken a four-leaf clover with her when she was expelled from paradise. The shamrock thus
became the sign of heavenly fortune.