Today’s pie crusts are sealed with fluted-edged pastry wheels made of stainless steel, while your ancestors used ones made of a much more interesting material—whale teeth.
Sailors on whaling ships had a lot of downtime waiting for the big catch, and they passed some of it by carving whale bones and teeth into decorative or useful objects. Smaller whale teeth became hand tools such as this pie crimper or “jagger.” Its curved handle reflects the shape of the tooth. The fluted wheel sealed the upper and lower pie crusts and trimmed the edges; the fork extension pricked the upper crust to let steam out. Undoubtedly many housewives in whaling ports owned a jagger such as this, likely made by their sailor husbands on one of their long whaling voyages.
The jagger was donated by Etta H. Handy, Boston Tea Party DAR Chapter, Boston, Mass., in 1964.