The following description was prepared by William Gross:
In Jewish tradition, the end of the Sabbath and other Jewish Holidays is marked by the ceremony of Havdalah (Separation) that differentiates between the Holy nature of the holiday and the profane nature of the following day. This ritual is accomplished by lighting a special candle with several wicks, drinking wine from a cup, and the inhalation of the sweet smell of spices. In the Ashkenazi world, these spices were usually held in a container which was often shaped in varying forms.
For many German families, the Havdalah candle was held in a special form for this purpose. Based on simple secular use iron and wood holders for lighting candles, such silver versions were made for prosperous Jewish families. This is an early form before a drawer for spices was added to the structure to form what has been named, in modern terminology, a "compendium". The German silversmith, Hermann Lang, made other pieces of Judaica as well as this one, including a circumcision set and a Kiddush cup. The lightness and delicacy of this work as well as the early date make it unusual.