This is from the 17th or 18th century. A wrought iron device made either to hang , such as from a home loom or on a chamber beam, or to rest on a flat surface. The smith would fashion a deep receptacle into which a shaved piece of resinous candlewood could be wedged. Candlewood comes from the heartwood or stump of a dead pine tree, where the sap and resins collect and concentrate. In New England a native pitch pine was used by the settlers. This is one of the earliest types of splint holders, that is, without the later clamps and counter weighted jaws.A rare type and because of its ingeniousness, workmanship and simplicity, possibly of American make. Found in Reading ,MA.