Object Detail

About This Object
A tally for a top block inscribed T.B. on both sides and marked with the Union Flag on one end. Brown wooden rectangular block with curved top. It has one hole in the curved section probably for attachment.

Tally sticks were used as a marker or label nailed or tied on to a piece of equipment or dunnage, just as a ‘tie on’ white label would be used today. Tallies were usually hand carved from wooden offcuts, perhaps of pine, oak or hazel wood.This tally has the initials ‘TB’ carved on both sides and a union flag motif on the square end. As a consequence of the ‘TB’ logo and that the tally was found in close proximity, or even attached to, a double pulley block there has been conjecture that the TB stands for ‘top block’. However blocks were usually named in more straightforward ways. For example the number of sheaves in the block. A ‘double’ block therefore contained two sheaves and a ‘single’ block one. By its shape, a ‘fiddle block’ was named because it has the shape of that particular instrument, or by purpose of use. While interpreting ‘TB’ to mean ‘top block’ is not unrealistic it would be unconventional. The true meaning of ‘TB’ may never be known for certain.
Catalogue Number
Height: 45mm
Width: 100mm
Depth: 30mm (1 3/16")
Production Date
Pre 1758
Production Period
Eighteenth Century