trug

(Another adventure in categorization and labeling, this time of cultural artifacts.)

Thanks to S13 E3 “Dead Man’s Folly” of the tv show Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the word for the morning is trug (also known as trug basket and garden trug); in the show (set on a lush estate in Devon) one of the characters goes about gardening with a classic trug in hand:

(#1)

Myrtlewood trugs from Barber’s Baskets in Coos Bay OR

From NOAD2:

noun trug: British a shallow oblong basket made of strips of wood, traditionally used for carrying garden flowers and produce. ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting a basin): perhaps a dialect variant of trough

A trug with flowers and one with produce:

(#2)

(#3)

All these have feet, for putting the trug down stably on a flat surface, but some trugs lack feet. The name trug is sometimes extended to rectangular (rather than oblong) baskets, including those made of pieces of thin wood rather wood slats; and to similar baskets made of other materials, including wire and wire mesh, and perhaps woven wicker, seagrass, or raffia.

The single handle, the shallow cavity, and the shape (oblong or rectangular rather than circular) seem to be crucial to the uses trugs are put to. These 19th-century Nantucket Baskets (made of woven wicker) are lovely, but only the one on the lower left might pass as a trug:

(#4)

Trugs might have originated as artifacts of British gardening culture, but the things (and their name) have spread, at least to North America (US/CA) and the Antipodes (AU/NZ).

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