This antique cotton or thread barrel is carved of real ivory with smooth sides and turned bands. The top unscrews from the barrel and inside is a spindle to be wrapped with thread. There's a hole in the side to feed the thread through. Aside from a short hairline crack at the bottom edge, the condition is excellent with no chips or loss and everything screws together perfectly. The patina and ivory grain are nice and it's all original.
It would have graced an English workbox of the late 18th or early 19th century. It measures 1 3/4" high by 1" in diameter. One is shown on p. 85 of Nerylla Taunton's "Antique Needlework Tools and Embroideries" and on p. 44 she shows the style of workbox it would have been in.