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This tool is a hatchel, used to straighten and clean the broom corn of uneeded material. Hatchel, iron, wood, L: 7.5 x W: 3.75 x .5. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of William B. Sprague, The Sprague Collection, F1217.1942.
Samuel F.B. Morse painted Samuel Nelson (1792-1873) in the late 1820s when Morse spent the summer in Cherry Valley, New York, at the invitation of his cousin, James Otis Morse. A leading figure in Cooperstown, Samuel Nelson had a long, successful law career. He was Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and later served … Continue reading Samuel Nelson
Winnowing is the action of separating the grain from the chaff- the inedible covering found on the grain. After flailing the grain the farmer puts the wheat in the winnowing basket. During a breezy day the threshing barn doors are opened. The farmer uses the winnowing basket to toss the grain into the air where … Continue reading Winnowing Basket
Turkey Feather Quill Pen
Quill pens were the writing implement of choice before the invention of the metal-nibbed pen in the mid 19th Century. The wing feathers of large birds made excellent quill pens. The hollow interior of the feather helped hold ink in reserve, allowing the writer to dip into the ink less often. This quill is made … Continue reading Turkey Feather Quill Pen
Pair of Crutches
Like today, people who had injured their legs or feet used crutches in order to move around. Crutches of the nineteenth century were not as comfortable as today’s and could not be easily adjusted to fit the height of the user. Rags would sometimes be wrapped around the top to try and make it less painful … Continue reading Pair of Crutches
Pharmacists, grocers, and many others sold immensely popular patent medicines during the nineteenth century. Premixed patent medicines came with instruction for use and often advertised that they did not contain chemicals commonly used in prescription medications. Neither the United States nor the State of New York had any laws regulating the creation or sale of … Continue reading Patent Medicine
Erie Canal Commemorative Plate
Plates similar to this one were popular in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The drawings on them are typically from an artist named James Eights, who accompanied the Erie Canal engineers in 1825, and documented the completed structures by making little watercolor drawings. The drawings were then used later as imagery for some of the plates, including … Continue reading Erie Canal Commemorative Plate
Wedding of the Waters
On October 26th, 1825, the Erie Canal was officially completed. With much pomp and fanfare, Governor Dewitt Clinton made the 10 day journey down the canal, from Buffalo to New York Harbor. At the harbor, Clinton ceremoniously poured Lake Erie water into New York Harbor, officially “Wedding the Waters.”
Fancy Weaving: Lion Coverlet
Coverlet woven for Elizabeth W. Thomson, Jefferson County, NY. Tyler Harry was active as a fancy weaver in Jefferson County, New York, from the mid 1830’s until the late 1850’s. Many coverlets are attributed to him and his family, and his work is well documented. Family tradition records that members of the Thomson family carded, … Continue reading Fancy Weaving: Lion Coverlet
Fancy Weaving: Coverlet
Some fancy weavers also advanced to the use of Jacquard Looms which became available after 1825, producing the more graphic designs of floral bouquets, birds, animals and text that became very popular in the coverlets they were weaving and personalizing by adding the name of their clients and the year woven in the border corners. … Continue reading Fancy Weaving: Coverlet
This agricultural tool was used to gently lift, move, and mix the hops as they lay on the drying floor. This ensured even drying of the whole bale.
This tool is a wrought iron, six-pronged, swiveled hop sampler. It operates like a pair of scissors. Growers and dealers used hop samplers to extract a sample from a bale of hops. They judged the quality of the crop and the harvesting process from the sample, and this determined a price for the product.
An anvil is an important tool for any black smith. It is the object on which hot metal is struck. The heavy anvil causes the energy from the strike of the hammer to focus on the metal object being created.
Letter in Hinman Milking Machine Trade Cat.
Letter in Hinman Milking Machine Trade Catalog, Thomas Taggert to J.P. Meyers (1917), Hinman Milking Machine Co., Oneida, NY, [1921?], p. 34, Trade cats Ag Imp H593h, 14 x 18 cm., Research Library Special Collections Trade Catalogs: Agricultural Implements, N0650.1999
Advertisement for Comstock’s Horticultural Implements
There were a number of agricultural magazines and journals during the 19th century. The magazines printed advertisements for companies that manufactured and sold agricultural implements. These publications offered farmers a chance to see new technological advances, learn scientific farming techniques, and stay connected to a larger group of like minded people. The American Agriculturalist … Continue reading Advertisement for Comstock’s Horticultural Implements
Charlotte Chicken represents the Leghorn breed, which is prized for its prolific egg laying. Carved by Gerry Holtzman and painted by Jill Irving, she represents the poultry farms of New York on the Empire State Carousel.
Diary of John B. Weeks – January 21, 1855
During the mid-nineteenth century, farmers spent almost every Sunday in church. Many farmers recorded attending church on a weekly basis in their diaries. In 1855, John B. Weeks frequently attended church with family and friends. His diary reveals that the pastor’s sermons were an important part of the service. JANUARY Sun 21st Went to Jones … Continue reading Diary of John B. Weeks – January 21, 1855
Physicians often made house calls to care for their patients. Since many physicians traveled by horseback, these saddlebags allowed doctors to transport their medicines and equipment safely. The saddlebags are made of leather and could be put over the back of a horse or over the doctor’s shoulder.
Most schools in central New York did not issue report cards to students in the mid-nineteenth century. If students performed well in school, learned and recited their lessons properly, and exhibited good behavior, they received merit slips, or Rewards of Merit. The teacher wrote the student’s name on the pre-printed slip and signed it as … Continue reading Merit Slip
Phinney’s Calendar or Western Almanac
Almanacs were extremely popular books in the farming community, largely because of their weather predictions. Farmers would use these predictions to help plan the planting season.
Bandboxes were made from an early form of cardboard. The pieces were sewn together, and the box was covered with wallpaper. Used to hold hats, caps, gloves, scarves and other accessories, as well as small pieces of clothing, they were often used when traveling.
Diary of Lucy Medora Walker
In 1862, Lucy Medora Walker, a woman from Springfield (Otsego County), New York, kept a diary. In addition to recording her daily events, “Dora” kept a memorandum in the back of her diary that tracked how much of her money she spent. She earned her money by picking hops.
This photograph shows a group of hops pickers in the nineteenth century. They are sitting on a box that holds the hops they picked. Men usually took down the poles on which the hops grew, and women usually picked the flowers from the vine.
Stamped Splint Basket
Basket making is a craft that is still practiced today. Baskets are both pretty and useful. These baskets were probably used in daily life for holding food and other goods. They have been decorated with multiple potato-stamped images.
Seneca Beaded Bag
Made by Iroquois women, beaded bags were created from scraps of cloth, silk ribbon, thread, and glass beads. Traditional Iroquois patterns were replaced by European designs, such as flowers, in the 1840’s to appeal to customers.