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At the Kalashnikov museum in Izhevsk, one of the exhibits includes this item:

Small wood and metal item

It is a yoke-shaped square bar of light, unvarnished wood, roughly 100 cm long, with rounded corners. There is a hole about 5 cm in diameter drilled vertically through the center of the bar. The two raised ends of the yoke are each pierced by a rod of dark metal, which splits into four smaller rods which spread out at a 30° angle and extend about 20 cm high. In one of the split metal rods is cradled a small piece of rough wood, with black scorch marks at both ends. There are also some scorch marks on the yoke, directly below one of the metal rods.

The exhibit shows objects from Mikhail Kalashnikov's mother's household in the early 1900s:

Exhibit of objects from Mikhail Kalashnikov's mother's household

I recognize a spinning wheel, bowl and spoon, sewing machine, several pieces of woven fabric, and a small vase with some dried flowers.

What is the yoke shaped object called and what was it used for?

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It's a Cветец (Svetetz), a device for holding a primitive torch called a Лучина (Luchina - splinter) or Rushlight, really just a splinter of wood or a piece of plant fiber dipped in grease.

Drawing of svetetz and lucina from Google Image Search

The Svetetz would need to be placed in a pool of water to prevent dropped ashes from starting a fire, so that could explain the raised yoke-like sides of the wooden piece. I can't find any pictures of another svetetz with a wooden part shaped this way, but the metal clips are pretty unmistakeable, as is the partially burned splinter.

Svetetz and lucina from Google Image Search Svetetz and lucina from Google Image Search

  • Nice catch +1 The metal prongs are obviously the same. – called2voyage Jul 8 '15 at 21:08
  • @called2voyage Also note the splinter present in the original – Hagen von Eitzen Jul 9 '15 at 13:34
  • @HagenvonEitzen Edited answer to note the splinter. – Robert Jul 9 '15 at 13:38

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