They are exactly what they sound like, they are things that receive hair.
You don't see them much nowadays (actually I have no idea if anybody else in this century is using one), but they were widely used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hair receivers are the pottery vessels into which ladies would deposit the clumps of hair from their brushes. These clumps would then be rolled into rats, which were used to puff up hairdos.
When I heard about hair receivers I thought they sounded very useful. I had been collecting my hair in a jar for quite some time and it didn't hold very much. My father was taking a pottery course for his sabbatical, so I got him to throw a hair receiver, which I then decorated. He is quite good at pottery and says he will start a website sometime, but he hasn't yet, so I can't leave a link to any such thing.
|The top of the receiver, after decorating but before glazing.|
|A close up of one of the rat skulls.|
It took hours and hours of drawing, and a lot of pencil sharpening, but I finished it. Then Papa had to glaze it. There were several clear glazes to choose from, so several test tiles were fired with the different glazes to see how the pencil reacted to them. I drew Homunculi on the tiles.
|Envy, Pride, and the second Greed.|
|Nooo! My favorite Homunculus has melted into a smudge.|
|The finished hair receiver.|
|The Rat Borg came out very light.|
|The other two rats were darker though.|
|The rat skulls were also lightened.|
The hole in the lid is for stuffing the hair through. It is the best way to collect hair, the receiver does a very good job of containing the clumps, which are terribly difficult to stuff into jars.
Since I have been saving hair clumps for a long time, I had more than a receiver full when the receiver was finished. I'm keeping it in a bag now, but I will make rats out of it soon, and then I'll write a post on rat making.