|6-way pipe union.
This amazing bit of plumbing was made by hand out of sheet-lead, according to the hand-written note on blue lined paper that came with it. From the eBay description:
This is a rare unique item - I'm not totally sure about it as I'm no detective - but on family history a very well established Plumbers in Rochdale Ezra Travis & Son (I think - it may not have been Ezra!) closed in the 1960's and my late Father's friend bought the premises and this glass domed example of "a Six way (branches) piece made of sheet lead" was in the office and left behind it was going to be thrown out and my Father brought it home and put it in his den. With it is a foolscap sheet of old blue paper (see photo) which has the heading "a Six way (branches) piece made of sheet lead" This goes on to tell in great detail how this six way junction was achieved. This must have been made during the time all plumbers used lead - before plastic - and it was a real skill.Lovely workmanship, though why anyone would want a six-way union is beyond me. They would be trivial to make these days in plastic, but I've never seen one for sale.
It also says "Made at Home in spare time" and amongst items used to create it a "coal hammer" (!)
It also says it was shown to Capt E. Edwards R.N. Eng Overseer (this suggests Royal Navy could it have been an apprentice piece?), and two other RN names and ends "who complimented me and advised to being sent to Exhibition (at the) Technical Institute"
I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Source: eBay seller timna91
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 25 January, 2006
Text Updated: 4 May, 2007