This carrier held 12 canaries as they were carried down into a gold mine here on the West Coast. In the East, they would have been placed in a coalmine. The foothills of Northern California have a rich history of gold mining, and my assumption is it was used here in gold country. The canaries were placed around the interior of a mine as they are very sensitive to toxic gases, particularly carbon monoxide.
I found this carrier in an antique store ages ago. I knew exactly how I was going to use it for display. This is my favorite Santa given to me by my dear friend QuiltSue from England. This Santa keeps all of the other ornaments in line by holding court every day.